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Schools can do better and are doing better, independent study reveals

Schools can do better and are doing better, independent study reveals

🕔22.Jan 2016

In a rare piece of good news Birmingham city council’s children’s services, an independent study this week found the authority was making good progress in delivering an improvement plan.

The Local Government Association’s peer review of the Birmingham Education and Schools Strategy and Improvement Plan concluded that “stronger professional leadership is making a significant impact” and that there is confidence that “the basics are being put in place for a strong and effective city-wide system of school improvement”.

The department has been the subject of regular criticism – children’s social care has been in special measures for seven years – and governance and management failings in a number of schools highlighted by the Trojan Horse allegations of a takeover by hardline Islamists led to the imposition of a children’s commissioner by the Government.

There was praise from the LGA review for the Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), set up by the council to oversee school improvement. The review found:

There are now robust foundations for an education system that will transform the lives of children and young people.

The review praised the leadership of the cabinet member, Cllr Brigid Jones, and executive director Alastair Gibbons, and noted that the council’s relationship with schools is improving, with more responsive and personalised services.

The study made a number of recommendations, including providing training for all members involved in scrutinising education, ensuring there is effective accountability for BEP and ensuring council staff visit settings where there are concerns and where action may be needed.

Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, said:

I am really pleased to see this peer review which is honest and comprehensive and written by people with a huge amount of relevant experience.

Schools in Birmingham are producing some great exam results, on a par with national achievements and often better than core cities and our statistical neighbours. However, our aim is to make all our schools good or outstanding.

Our improvement plan sets out a vision where every child achieves his or her potential. To do this we must continue to collaboratively drive forward innovation and improvement so every child can access the best education and prosper in a safe environment.

This peer review shows that we are heading in the right direction and I want to thank everyone who is working so hard so all our children and young people.

The number of schools in Birmingham ranked as outstanding has been steadily growing, and children now have a one in four chance of attending one.

According to the latest Ofsted figures, 113 Birmingham schools are outstanding (26%), 226 are good (53%) and 66 require improvement (15%).

At 26 per cent, the proportion of outstanding schools in Birmingham is significantly above the West Midlands average of 18 per cent and is also above the average for England of 20 per cent.

However, the proportion of good schools in Birmingham at 53 per cent is below the West Midlands average and the average for England of 64 per cent.

The proportion of Birmingham schools requiring improvement, at 15 per cent, is in line with the average for England of 14 per cent.

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