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BIRMINGHAM LEA IS VERY EFFECTIVE AND HAS OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP, SAYS OFSTED

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Birmingham local education authority is one of a very small number of ...
Birmingham local education authority is one of a very small number of

EAs which stand as an example to all authorities of what can be

done, even in the most demanding urban environments, according to a

report published today by the Office for Standards in Education.

The inspectors say that the critical factors in the LEA's success

have been its consistency of approach over a long period, a high

level of funding, dedicated and uniformly effective work by officers,

very capable political leadership, and above all, the energising and

inspirational example set by the chief education officer.

The following functions are exercised particularly effectively:

- the leadership for education provided by senior officers and

elected members;

- corporate planning and scrutiny of plans and performance in

education;

- the effectiveness of strategies to promote continuous improvement;

- the strategy for school improvement and its implementation;

- leadership and management of services for school improvement;

- targeting resources on priorities;

- definition of monitoring, challenge and intervention;

- monitoring schools and challenging them to improve;

- identification and intervention in under-performing schools;

- support for ethnic minority groups including Travellers;

- support to schools for gifted and talented pupils;

- support for school leadership and management, and for assuring the

supply and quality of teachers;

- provision of school places and provision for pupils without a

school place;

- effectiveness of combating racism;

- support for early years;

- partnership working including partnership with schools.

The following functions are not performed adequately:

- support for children in public care;

- property services.

Chief inspector Mike Tomlinson said:

'Too often, challenging circumstances are cited as grounds for

indifferent performance. However, this LEA has built on its earlier

OFSTED report, the excellent work of its officers and members and the

outstanding leadership of its chief education officer to use that

challenge to deliver educational improvement. Birmingham, the second

city, has a first class LEA.'

The full report will be available on the Ofsted website .

A press release from the local authority follows:

BIRMINGHAM EDUCATION SERVICE - 'AN EXAMPLE TO ALL OTHERS'

Birmingham LEA stands 'as an example to all others of what can be done even in

the most demanding of urban environments', according to the OFSTED inspection

report, published today.

Inspectors praised the 'can-do' culture in schools which has seen achievement

by pupils rise more quickly than national averages at all ages. The report

describes the education service as 'very effective' with the success due to 'a

high level of funding, dedicated and uniformly effective work by officers,

very capable political leadership but above all the energising and

inspirational example set by the chief education officer.'

Welcoming the report, chief education officer, Tim Brighouse, whose

leadership is described as 'outstanding' said: 'Whilst we cannot deny this

report is very welcome and a huge tribute to everyone in Birmingham, we note

that Ofsted's assessment is often above our own. Their praise will not

deflect us from striving to be at the leading edge of performance and

practice. The report is a reflection of the 'can do' culture of our schools

and their commitment to setting ambitious targets. We will not be complacent

and will work hard to continue to attract and retain the best people to the

city. I believe this report sets a benchmark for others involved in urban

education to follow but I also feel strongly that, with the support of our

heads, the commitment of the city council and the continued hard work of

teachers, parents, pupils and governors, we in Birmingham can and will do even

better.'

The report highlights 18 functions that the LEA performs particularly

effectively and just two areas - support for children in public care and

property services -that are in need of attention. However it also concludes

that the 'LEA has demonstrated that it has a very good capacity to improve'.

Inspectors noted that Birmingham has 'a good range of imaginative recruitment

strategies' and that compared to national problems the staffing situation in

the city is good. Partnership is also praised in the city with a clear sense

of common purpose and the corporate aim of creating a learning city all well

understood. The LEA's work to combat racism is described as very good with a

number of different initiatives to raise achievement of minority ethnic groups

also highlighted. Partners had specifically praised the way the LEA responded

'quickly and decisively' in issuing guidance to schools following the

September 11 incidents.

Roy Pinney, cabinet member for education and lifelong learning,

said: 'I am delighted that OFSTED has recognised the tremendous commitment of

the city council to education and the results that this can bring. We will

continue to prioritise our schools and learning and ensure that all our pupils

achieve even better results. This report is a fitting tribute to our chief

education officer and also reflects well on all our 'special and well

motivated' headteachers, teachers and support staff. These people are an

asset to our city and will ensure that we use this report to improve still

further.'

The LEA will now be preparing an Action Plan that will be submitted to OFSTED

for approval within the next few months.

* see LGCnetfor 'TIM BRIGHOUSE RETIRES AS BIRMINGHAM CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER'

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