Three academies in Southend will be given extra cash from the council to improve standards... but bosses have warned they will be set demanding targets.

Southend Council is distributing the £100,000 pot between Cecil Jones Academy, Southchurch High School and Chase High School to raise Ofsted ratings to either good or outstanding.

Brin Martin, the council’s director of learning, said: “This is an interesting one because as these are three academies the improvements should be in their own destiny.

“But as a council, if we wish to see improvements in key stage 4, it is going to be through improving, or through supporting those three schools to improve.

“At some stage in the near future we will have a meeting where we will do some assessments on exactly what it is it that is causing barriers for each of the three schools.

“They may be different in each of the individual schools and some may be common across all three but until we’ve had that opportunity to do a clear investigation we can’t say.”

“I will say that improvements we wish to see are highly unlikely to be manifesting themselves this summer i.e. in 2019, so there will be a lag before we see those improvements.”

He added: “We will agree the outcomes we wish to achieve and then hold them to account for those outcomes, so the money will go to the academies but we will hold them to account for the outcomes which we agree beforehand they will achieve – so it has strings.”

During further discussion about the problems that are affecting all three schools, Mr Martin said he “suspects” behaviour and discipline is at the root of the problems in the schools.

He added: “What we need to do is help to create a climate where learning is the norm.”

The funding from the council will be a one-off investment that has come from a budget surplus in the 2018/19 financial year.

Other investments will include £250,000 spent on road improvements, £130,000 on recruiting new social workers and a £50,000 boost to parking enforcement.