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BLUNKETT APPROVES EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR LEAs AS PART OF THE DRIVE TO RAISE STANDARDS

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Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has approved Education Development Plans for the LEAs in England,...
Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has approved Education Development Plans for the LEAs in England, as part of the government's drive to raise standards.

EDPs are a requirement of the School Standards and Framework Act and have two key purposes:

to raise the standards of education provided for all children in the LEA's area

to improve the performance of schools maintained by the LEA.

Each EDP has a lifespan of three years and is subject to regular review. In a small number of cases LEAs have been given approval for a year and asked to address a number of issues in their plans in

order to strengthen them.

The LEAs are Hackney, Halton, Islington, Liverpool, Rotherham and Southwark. In each case the LEA has been asked to re-submit their Plan.

In three cases - Hackney, Halton and Liverpool - there is a need for a major overhaul. For the other three the combination of serious concerns and a recent or imminent OFSTED inspection makes it right to call for an early review.

There are a number of other LEAs whose plans will need some revisions in time for the second year of their EDPs and the Department will be discussing these with them.

Mr. Blunkett said:

'LEAs have a new statutory duty to promote high standards in primary and secondary education. We believe EDPs should be challenging and robust in order to deliver clear objectives.

'They are also a real opportunity to raise standards in schools and to develop partnerships at local and regional level. Schools are an integral part of this process and EDPs contain realistic and challenging targets.

'There are almost 100 LEAs whose plans are very good indeed. There are some LEAs whose plans need further work and we have asked them to do that.

'The government is committed to ensuring that LEAs work effectively in helping to raise standards. That is why we have a programme of inspections. OFSTED has today announced its list of LEA inspections for the autumn of this year.

'Overall I am grateful for all the work that LEAs have put in. This is a good beginning.'

NOTES

1. Under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 each LEA has a duty to prepare and submit an Education Development Plan (EDP) for their area. EDPs will be the main measure of how LEAs will carry out their new duty to promote high standards in schools.

2. EDPs are 3-year plans subject to approval and regular review by the secretary of state. The EDP will comprise a statement of proposals plus supporting annexes focusing on an LEA's strategy for raising standards in its schools, including targets agreed with schools. EDPs were prepared in consultation with schools and other local interests. Schools will retain the lead responsibility for improving their own performance.

3. The department, and in particular the SEU's advisers, will continue to work with all LEAs to help ensure their Plans deliver raised standards. The department will be consulting next term on the details of the annual monitoring and review arrangements.

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