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New ‘challenge’ announced for Suffolk schools to boost performance

PUBLISHED: 19:30 17 October 2018

The scheme aims to help schools with targets relevant to them Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The scheme aims to help schools with targets relevant to them Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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A fresh drive to boost attainment in Suffolk schools has been announced by education chiefs – but mystery surrounds what it will involve.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for education said it was about helping schools achieve their best Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILCouncillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for education said it was about helping schools achieve their best Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The Suffolk Performance Challenge has been developed by the Suffolk Learning and Improvement Network – an alliance of education bodies in the county – to set out a series of minimum standards for key areas of the curriculum.

While the county council’s Raising the Bar programme aims to drive attainment and standards more broadly, the Performance Challenge will set out a minimum level of progress and performance in agreed priority areas of the curriculum at each school.

The council’s report published ahead of this week’s county council meeting said that it would address concerns about the gap between the wider Raising the Bar aspirations and the on-the-ground measures in place in schools.

But despite announcing the challenge, details on how it will work are yet to be revealed.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman last night said: “We are absolutely focused and committed on raising education attainment, and more details will be announced in due course.”

It is not yet clear when the scheme will start.

In his report, cabinet member for education, skills and children’s services, Gordon Jones, said: “A challenge remains for some parts of the sector and recent improvements in attainment and progress, although welcome, have tended to track the national rate of improvement.

“Although the picture is an improving one, we need to do more to close the gap to national.

“Our ambition is for Suffolk’s pupils to exceed national levels of achievement.”

He added: “This is an exciting development that will link every school’s ambition for achievement directly to the overarching Raising the Bar ambitions.”

Schools which are performing above the minimum expected target, will be encouraged to continue their development.

Education chiefs at the county council confirmed it was not a replacement for its Raising the Bar programme, and is intended to help schools with their own individual goals.

The scheme comes as latest Department for Education data has revealed that Suffolk rose 40 places in the latest national league tables for GCSE results in maths and English.

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