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£32M TO HELP SCHOOLS WITH POORER EXAM RESULTS TO IMPROVE STANDARDS (ENGLAND)

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The pressure to improve the performance at around 500 schools achieving poor exam standards will be driven up with ...
The pressure to improve the performance at around 500 schools achieving poor exam standards will be driven up with a cash boost of up to£70,000 per school and regular monitoring to enable schools to meet challenging targets, school standards minister Estelle Morris announced today.
£32m of next year's£210m school improvement grant being allocated to local education authorities has today been earmarked to support the programme. Low attaining secondary schools in excellence in cities area and education action zones will receive£20,000 a year, while those outside those programme will receive£70,000 to enable them to adopt approaches successfully being used in urban schools.
The programme, announced by Estelle Morris at the North of England Education Conference today, provides funds that schools can decide how to spend, including:
- bonuses to help attract and retain good teachers - particularly in shortage subjects
- money to improve the number of adults working with difficult pupils, including learning mentors to help prevent truancy and disaffection
- extra books and other resources to support improved standards
There will be better sharing of good practice building on the beacon schools programme, with good deputy heads seconded to schools in challenging circumstances, effective training from the National College of School Leadership, the use of head teachers from successful schools to work with schools that need to improve and the
twinning of successful schools and struggling schools.
Ms Morris said: 'David Blunkett announced last year our target for all schools to
have 25% of pupils getting five good GCSEs by 2006, with a minimum expectation of no school achieving less than 15% by 2002. That is a challenging target for many schools, which no previous government has been prepared to tackle, but it is vital that we raise expectations in those schools for the sake of the pupils who attend them.
'But our approach is one of pressure and support. Whilst schools have targets and support from Ofsted to help them achieve them, we also recognise that some schools face significant problems that do require extra resources. This may mean the opportunity to pay retention or recruitment bonuses to attract more teachers, particularly in hard to recruit subjects. It may mean more staff like mentors to work with pupils so that they can overcome their barriers to learning, whilst
at the same time freeing teachers to concentrate on teaching. It can mean extra books or resources.
'Schools are benefiting generally from a£450 per pupil real terms increase in resources since 1997 and we are greatly expanding the specialist and beacon school programmes so that we can build on and spread good practice. Sensible targeting on practical solutions is already paying real dividends within Excellence in Cities and I am keen that schools with similar challenges outside our cities have access to the same sort of resources. Schools will be free to tailor their own solutions and will agree with our standards and effectiveness unit on how they target the extra money.
'There are those who say that we should simply leave weak schools to sink. Before 1997, schools were placed in special measures but all too often were neglected thereafter. Whether they pulled themselves out of failure was a matter of indifference in too many cases. We have taken a different and focused approach that is working.
'I can tell the conference today that since 1997, 650 schools have successfully come out of special measures as a result of clear targets and a combination of pressure and support. They are doing so in an average 18 months rather than 25 months. Over 100 more failing schools have had to be closed and a further 25 have been fresh started.'
'Local authorities must play a full part to help failing schools and to help weak schools to improve. That is why this government has developed an approach of intervention in inverse proportion to success: allow good schools the freedom to succeed, but don't walk away from the challenge of helping weak schools to improve.
'Today we are challenging town halls to look outside for dynamism and challenge, to develop new partnerships and to consider whether there are elements of their work that others can do better or with greater value. Where OFSTED identifies a failure in LEAs we shall continue to act decisively and if necessary introduce private sector providers.
'Our aim is a world-class education that delivers much higher standards for all pupils, in whatever setting and whatever their background. In 1997 we set high expectations of what can be achieved. We have not been disappointed. Primary school results for 2000 have shown substantial improvements as a result of the literacy and
numeracy hours and we are already seeing faster than average improvement in urban schools as a result of our willingness to tackle past underachievement.
'Today's announcements are a further part of that strategy - which is one of the most important school reform programmes in the developed world. Within two years, it has begun to show real results and I am confident that the combination of pressure and support for schools will help us to deliver for all our pupils the high standards
which some take for granted.'
NOTES
This notice applies to England.
1. Investment: The£210m school improvement grant includes investment for all schools, based on their size, intake etc.£32m has been earmarked for schools in challenging circumstances - with an extra£70,000 a year per school (£20,000 for schools in excellence in cities areas or education action zones that already receive extra support).
2. At the conference Estelle Morris revealed that over 650 previously failing schools have been successfully turned round since 1997. The number of schools coming out of special measures has exceeded the number going in for the last two terms. 84% of schools, which are put in special measures, are successfully turned
around. Where they are not, 13% are closed and three% get a fresh start.
Ofsted estimates that at least 150,000 children and young people are receiving a better quality education as a result of special measures. Data from schools that have come out of special measures and have now been re-inspected show that:
- in primary schools, leadership and management has improved from only 13% satisfactory or better to 100% satisfactory or better. The pattern is similar in secondary schools.
- quality of teaching also shows a dramatic improvement including half the schools with no unsatisfactory teaching at all.
3. Best Practice: The programme is funded from the£210m and has a number of components, including:
- giving good deputy heads experience of working in challenging schools;
- helping deputies prepare for headship with training from the National College of School Leadership;
- using consultant head teachers from successful schools to work with schools that need to improve;
- twinning successful schools and struggling schools.
4. The government is providing extensive support to schools to help them to meet the challenging targets which have been set. Local authorities need to consider carefully the position of any school in special measures that does not recover within two years or any secondary school which does not improve to at least 15% of its pupils achieving five A*-Cs at GCSE over the next three years.
There is a range of options available to local education authorities, including: reorganisation or outright closure; city academy status; or, in very exceptional circumstances, fresh start.
5. The secretary of state announced a new drive around literacy and numeracy at secondary school level including key stage 3 pilots at the North of England Conference on Jan 6 2000
6. Wider reforms of secondary education were announced in a speech by David Blunkett to the Social Market Foundation on March 15 2000
7. Schools standards minister Estelle Morris announced the department's intention to work with around 500 secondary schools which needed to improve their GCSE performance at a conference in Washington DC on 5 October 2000
8. An additional£82mn in support to improve literacy and numeracy at key stage 3 was announced on 16 November 2000
Note that these are matched-funded grants, so the DfEE will provide 53% of the sums set out in the spreadsheet, and the LEAs will need to provide 47%.(schools cash)
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