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
- corporate planning and scrutiny of plans and performance in
- 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
- 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
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
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'