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Education experts called in to help Basildon schools
THREE British education experts have been drafted in to help headteachers in Basildon drive up standards quickly.
Education charity the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST), which was set up two years ago to help schools, has hired experts Professor Mick Waters, Brenda Bigland CBE and Martin Ripley to work with headteachers in Basildon giving advice, support and challenging the schools.
The experts will be mentoring a group of headteachers on a long term basis giving them advice sessions and holding conferences on how they can raise standards for the next year.
It comes after months of campaigning by the Echo to drive up standards in Basildon schools after Michael Gove, secretaty of state for education, said standards had to improve in the borough.
Mrs Bigland spoke at BEST’s annual conference last year and Patrick White, director of BEST, asked her and the two other experts to work with Basildon schools.
Mrs Bigland, works as an independent education consultant across the world and was a headteacher for 18 years at Lent Rise Primary School School near Slough until last year, Ofsted recognised the school was in a challenging area.
Mrs Bigland, welcomed the Echo’s campaign and said there were lots of good teachers in Basildon and she was trying to help spread the good practice.
She said: “I spoke at BEST’s annual conference this year and afterwards we all sat down with the headteachers and spoke about schools working together and sharing good practice.
“There is so many positive aspects of primary schools in Basildon and we will be joining the headteachers on their journey and trying to help them share that good practice.
“I have loved working with the Basildon headteachers, there is so many positive hardworking people who just want the best for the schools in Basildon and I hope the advice we can give does help them.
“We are not there to lecture the heads, I resigned as a headteacher last year so I have current experience which can help.”
BEST, which is based in the grounds of the Basildon Lower Academy in Timberlog Close, works with over 9000 school children in Basildon and has 35 primary schools and James Hornsby in Laindon in the partnership.
The school’s pay for the services BEST provides which include advice and workshops from these professors, parenting groups, holiday activities and working with the business sector so children can experience talks and presentations from people in business so they might aspire to be like them later in life.
Mr White added: “Lots of people talk negatively about the education in Basildon but the fact is teachers in the borough have got to be good.
“This is a challenging area and teachers are dealing with lots of issues with the children before they even get in the classroom, they have got to be better at their jobs than most and the same goes for headteachers.
“Results in primary schools are on the up and we are hopeful bringing in these experts is going to be great for the headteachers in the partnership.
“We want to encourage schools to work together to try and improve standards and the 2012 results for primary schools were some of the best we have ever achieved.
“This is the next mission for the charity as we try and help schools to work together more and share good practice.”