Council seeks clarification on education proposals

Education chiefs have sought clarification from government officials over proposed changes that could see high-performing schools turned into academies.

Friday, 17th June 2016, 7:35 am
Quadrant, North Tyneside Council at Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside. REF 2602156943

North Tyneside Council has written to the Secretary of State for Education to raise issues about the Government’s legislative plans around education.

The open letter asks for clarification on a number of points in the Government’s Education Excellence Everywhere White Paper and Education For All Bill.

In the letter, Coun Ian Grayson, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, raises concerns about Government proposals to convert schools into academies, particularly in high-performing areas like North Tyneside.

The borough’s primary schools are currently the best performing in the country outside of London, with 96 per cent rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

Coun Grayson writes: “Currently, 92 per cent of our young people attend a good or outstanding school and Ofsted have consistently highlighted the quality of education in our borough.

“There are three academies in North Tyneside. You will therefore understand the concerns we have about the plans you have suggested in the White Paper and seem to be proposing for the Bill.

“While my colleagues and our education leaders welcome your decision to step back from compelling all schools to convert, it remains unclear what role you expect local authorities to take.

“In North Tyneside, we are faced with an emerging set of plans and proposals that still have the same end point in mind, the conversion of all of our schools to academies.”

The letter goes on to raise a number of other important issues, including school improvement, governance, interaction between Academy Orders and Inspection, language, and history.

Coun Grayson also calls on ministers working on the draft bill to consider the role of successful school and local authority partnerships and how that relationship can be developed.

The letter concludes: “North Tyneside Council has always paid the closest attention to the life chances of our young people; our educations leaders and elected members have worked together to build an education system to be proud of.

“I am deeply worried that the changes proposed by your Government will have a lasting and damaging impact on that success.”

The council is working with head teachers and chairs of governors regarding the issues raised in the letter and has invited the Secretary of State for Education to North Tyneside to meet local young people and discuss the concerns in more detail.