Schools on target to be rated good or better by 2016 say Wakefield Council

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Wakefield Council is on target to get all schools in the district rated good or better by next year, education bosses said.

It comes after Ofsted inspectors said the authority had made “significant changes” to help schools improve.

In November 2013, the council was judged to be ineffective at supporting school improvement.

But a follow-up inspection in December last year found the quality of schools is improving at a faster rate than the national averages.

John Wilson, the council’s corporate director for children and young people, took up his post in June 2013.

He said the council’s ambition is to have all schools rated good or outstanding by 2016.

Mr Wilson said: “The old system of telling schools what was wrong and how to fix it was out of date.

“We now establish a better relationship with schools and try to work in partnership.

“School improvement officers visit schools between three and six times a year, which they did not before, and discuss progress being made.”

Problems with local education were first highlighted back in August 2011, when figures showed the district’s primary schools to be among the worst in the country for teaching basic English and maths.

The council was inspected in November 2013 due to concerns over pupil achievement and the below average number of schools that were judged to be good or outstanding.

But a follow-up visit last month found the council made significant improvements.

The report said attainment levels at Key Stages 1 and 2 were rising and the progress of Key Stage 2 pupils rose at a faster rate than the national average.

Mr Wilson said: “When the report came out in November 2013, it was very critical and we had to take it on the chin.

“We needed to make the local authority work better with schools and that’s what we have done. The new model opens up dialogue with the schools and creates a better flow of information.”

Wakefield was ranked third out of 60 cities in the country for its GCSE results, a report has said.

The Centre of Cities found the city’s 2013 pass rate for five A*- C GCSE’s including maths and English was 66.3 per cent.

The figure was third highest in The Centre of Cities’ 2015 Cities Outlook report – a rise of 16 places from the previous year.

Coun Olivia Rowley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “As a local authority we want our children to do well. We want them all to have aspirations of going to university so school improvement is key for us.”