Inspectors’ praise for school improvement programme

Cllr Nick BennettA COUNCIL has received a positive report from education inspectors for the way in which it supports school improvement.

Ofsted noted the progress made in a number of areas following a week-long inspection which included interviews with East Sussex County Council officers, head teachers and governors at schools across the county.

Inspectors said the impact of the council’s Excellence for All strategy, which aims to ensure all children are taught in a school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted and reach their full potential, was ‘clear’.

Councillors, officers and school leaders were ‘committed to improving the quality of education provision and outcome’ while there was a ‘consensus of shared responsibility’ to ensure no child in East Sussex was ‘left behind’.

The report noted the youngest children were now getting ‘a much better start to their education’, there had been a marked improvement in primary schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and a significant reduction in the those ranked ‘inadequate’.

The proportion of children reaching a good level of development at age five had risen significantly, placing East Sussex in the top 10 per cent of local authorities, while achievement at age seven was now ‘significantly above national figures’.

Inspectors did find some areas for improvement, including improving attainment for post-16 pupils, further developing school-to-school support and helping schools to improve the way they work with pupils at risk of exclusion and reduce absence.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “This report shows that our Excellence for All strategy and the financial investment we’ve made is driving real improvement and delivering tangible benefits for children in East Sussex.

“It’s clear that we’re moving in the right direction and one of the most encouraging things the inspectors highlighted was the way in which everyone with a responsibility for children in the county was committed to ensuring no child is left behind.

“The report has noted some areas for improvement, so it’s important that we don’t rest on our laurels but continue to do everything possible to drive up achievement and ensure every child in East Sussex is able to reach their full potential.”

Last year, councillors approved an £800,000 investment in accelerating the Excellence for All strategy, after arrangements were judged ‘ineffective’ in a previous Ofsted inspection in June 2014.

Ofsted have not identified a need to re-inspect the service. Areas for improvement identified in the report will be incorporated into the Excellence for All strategy.