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Crack team to beef up schooling in Basildon
ALL 43 Basildon primary schools have signed up to be scrutinised by a crack team of headteachers, much to the delight of parents.
An education rescue squad will move in to judge primary schools in the town amid concerns schools are failing theirpupils.
The panel, led by ex-Ofsted head Sir Mike Tomlinson, is the brainchild of Basildon Council and Essex County Council.
They hope to turn around schools which Ofsted have said need improving.
Mum Sarah Steel, 34, welcomed the idea. All five of her children have been to Janet Duke Primary School in Markhams Chase.
She said: “Every school could do with a kick up the bum. When my son left he couldn’t read or write properly.
“Janet Duke has improved since Harriet Phelps-Knights became headteacher. Outsiders might be able to bring in something different.”
Daniel Shave’s daughters Ellie- Jade, eight, and Lilly-Mae, six, also attend Janet Duke Primary School.
Daniel, 29, of St James Road, Vange, said: “There is always room for improvement.
“I don’t think a school should stop improving if it is getting great reports. It should always try to better itself.”
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said the whole community needed to get behind the scheme, after hearing horror stories of some parents not taking enough responsibility for their child’s education.
He said: “Some of the headteachers said their teachers spent a lot of time ringing round trying to find out where little Johnny is rather than teaching.
“One teacher even said a parent had stopped their child reading because they said they were doing it too much.
“The community as a whole has a responsibility as well.”
But Paul Rook, 37, of Rydene, Vange, said they should be focusing on secondary schools.
He said: “Some primary schools are good already. Where the kids of Basildon are being let down is in secondary schools.
“My godsons are at Lee Chapel Primary School and that school is the best I’ve ever known. It’s a shame when they leave. The secondary schools are way below average.”
The crack team will be launched at an event next month. Sir Mike Tomlinson, will be paid an undisclosed fee by Essex County Council.
Mr Ball said: “It’s not just about the schools getting the results, it’s about creating an environment where teachers want to come to Basildon and giving the children the best education we can.”
MILLHOUSE Junior School has already turned around its fortunes after being graded good by Ofsted for the first time in more than 10 years.
The primary school in Tavistock Road, Laindon, has been graded three, which used to stand for satisfactory, but now stands for “requires improvement”, in its four previous inspections.
The latest report, out today said: “The school is a happy place. Pupils enjoy their lessons and work hard. The headteacher and senior staff are determined to go on improving the school.”
It praised the school on teaching standards, the progress children make and their good behaviour.
Deputy headteacher Jenny Haken said: “We are really pleased. We have had a few headteachers over the years but when the current head Gareth Allen came in 2010, that’s when all the changes started, particularly with behaviour. There’s a lot more focus on helping children achieve and overcome barriers, from the dinner ladies up to the headteacher, so they are ready for secondary school. Before drive was not there.”
OFSTED said urgent action is needed at Bromfords School, in Grange Avenue, Wickford, as standards continue to fail pupils.
The secondary school was graded as requiring improvement during an Ofsted inspection in June last year.
It found inconsistent teaching, well below average attendance, and teachers slow to tackle underachievement.
Headteacher Marian Spinks left the troubled school in December – less than a week before inspectors said for the second time the school urgently needed to improve.
Inspector Elaine Taylor wrote: “Progress for lower and middle ability students is not good enough. The gap between the progress made by the majority of students and others remains too wide.”
The report said persistent absence is still too high and some pupils had a poor attitude to learning. Exclusions have fallen but the number is still above average.
Deputy headteacher Martin Coulson has stepped in as headteacher temporarily.
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball refused to step in to improve secondary schools, saying the new education panel will tackle the root of the problem at primary level.
He said: “Too many of our children are moving on to secondary school not being able to read or write.”
However, he didn’t rule out focusing on secondary schools at a later date.
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