Southend schools 'not good enough'

Southend Standard: James Courtenay, Southend councillor responsible for children and learning James Courtenay, Southend councillor responsible for children and learning

PUPILS in Southend are not getting the education they deserve and schools must improve, James Courtenay the councillor responsible for education has admitted.

Headteachers and governors failing children will be axed and education experts brought in to pull up struggling schools after Ofsted branded Southend schools among the worst in the country.

Four out of ten of the borough’s primary pupils and a third of its secondary pupils go to a school that is inadequate or requires improvement, according to the education watchdog’s annual report.

Southend Council plans to spend £200,000 a year for the next three years on an early years adviser and a secondary education adviser to help make all schools good or outstanding.

The authority has already replaced headteachers at Cecil Jones College and Futures Community College and the new cash will also fund “superheads” and special teams drafted in to drive up standards at other schools.

Mr Courtenay said: “It’s not good enough. Things need to improve.

“It’s not a disaster, but kids in Southend have got a right to expect to go to a good or outstanding school and we will not stop until we have got that.”

Two and a half years ago, Southend Council set a target for all 52 schools in the borough to be “good” or “outstanding” by this September.

But with seven months to go, just 60 per cent of Southend primary pupils go to a school achieving one of Ofsted’s top two ratings – placing Southend Council 145th out of 152 local education authorities in England.

A cross-party group of councillors are expected to publish recommendations for how to improve Southend primary school pupils’ performance in the 11-plus next month.

The council launched a probe after the Echo revealed just one in ten pupils from Southend primaries passed the grammar school entrance exam last year.

Two-thirds of Southend secondary pupils go to a “good” or “ outstanding” school – but that includes academies, which are outside local authority control.

Mr Courtenay, who is expecting three upcoming Ofsted reports to improve the figures, said: “I want it to happen tomorrow, but I’m sensible enough to realise it won’t.

“The school improvement plan is a three-year plan and we are into year three.

“Every time we look at intervening, whether it’s governors going or bringing in additional support, all that is done with the thought of how is this going to help us get it good or outstanding.”

He added: “Running a school is one of the toughest jobs. I’m pleased with our relationship with the academy schools.”

Comments (3)

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1:36pm Thu 20 Feb 14

emcee says...

This situation has been gradually getting worse over the last fifteen years or so but too many policians and the local authorities have been in denial or have chosen to turn a blind eye in the hope it will go away by itself.
When schools are run for the sole purpose to tick boxes on Government statistics rather than run the schools for the good of the pupils, is it any wonder why this country's education is in decline.
Also, recruiting teachers merely on the basis they have any sort of degree, rather than their ability to teach, and have full knowledge of their subject, does not help matters. Too many new teachers, especially those recruited straight from university, do not have the passion or vocational inclination to do the job and merely treat it as an easy option into a job for life.
This situation has been gradually getting worse over the last fifteen years or so but too many policians and the local authorities have been in denial or have chosen to turn a blind eye in the hope it will go away by itself. When schools are run for the sole purpose to tick boxes on Government statistics rather than run the schools for the good of the pupils, is it any wonder why this country's education is in decline. Also, recruiting teachers merely on the basis they have any sort of degree, rather than their ability to teach, and have full knowledge of their subject, does not help matters. Too many new teachers, especially those recruited straight from university, do not have the passion or vocational inclination to do the job and merely treat it as an easy option into a job for life. emcee
  • Score: 9

4:00pm Fri 21 Feb 14

jayman says...

this mans plan has been a success. now he has become a victim of his own success. congratulations to him, commiserations to him for having to delve deep into the bottom of what he probably considers 'the 'social barrel', and sympathies are given to the masses of parents who faithfully send their children to state schools in the belief that they will receive any type of adequate education.

to encapsulate James Courtenay's ethos and management of southends schools in light of his unflinching support of selective education.

'It's not enough that I should succeed - others should fail.

It seems that James Courtenay has Soured the educational 'milk' a little too much.

'
this mans plan has been a success. now he has become a victim of his own success. congratulations to him, commiserations to him for having to delve deep into the bottom of what he probably considers 'the 'social barrel', and sympathies are given to the masses of parents who faithfully send their children to state schools in the belief that they will receive any type of adequate education. to encapsulate James Courtenay's ethos and management of southends schools in light of his unflinching support of selective education. 'It's not enough that I should succeed - others should fail. It seems that James Courtenay has Soured the educational 'milk' a little too much. ' jayman
  • Score: 0

8:47pm Fri 21 Feb 14

bezzie says...

Mr Courtenay - when are you going to make changes at Futures Community College???? Heard nothing of the "hit squad" since it went in and please dont tell me they are "monitoring the situation" . Some of the teachers there have no control of disruptive students therefore severely affecting the education of those that do. Please tell us what your plans are???????????
Mr Courtenay - when are you going to make changes at Futures Community College???? Heard nothing of the "hit squad" since it went in and please dont tell me they are "monitoring the situation" . Some of the teachers there have no control of disruptive students therefore severely affecting the education of those that do. Please tell us what your plans are??????????? bezzie
  • Score: 2

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