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BRACKNELL FOREST IS A GOOD LEA THAT HAS ACHIEVED MUCH IN A SHORT TIME

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Bracknell Forest local education authority has made a good start ...
Bracknell Forest local education authority has made a good start

since it was set up in 1998 following local government

reorganisation, according to a report published today by the office

for standards in education (OFSTED). Elected members have established

a clear vision and strategy for education, and the senior management

team provides excellent leadership.

The inspectors say that what is most immediately striking about the

LEA is the clarity, coherence and consistency of its planning and

performance management processes. Its support for pupils with special

educational needs is a significant achievement, its consultation with

schools is very effective, and its support for school improvement is

good.

The LEA's particular strengths include:

* the monitoring, challenge, intervention and support provided to

schools;

* services to support school improvement;

* support for literacy, numeracy, and information and communication

technology in the curriculum;

* support for schools causing concern;

* support for school management and governors;

* corporate planning for education, decision making, and the quality

of leadership given by members and senior officers;

* the strategy and provision for special educational needs.

However, the LEA's progress in raising standards is no better than

average, and ought to be better for pupils at Key Stage 4 (aged

14-16). Post-16 results have not improved. The LEA has tackled

difficult issues and does challenge its schools, but the performance

of secondary schools is variable.

The LEA's weaknesses are few, but important. They include the

provision for pupils who have no school place and support for

behaviour.

The inspectors conclude that in many areas of its work the LEA

provides a model for others to follow. However, increasing

difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers will make it more

difficult to raise performance further. Another obstacle to progress

is the insufficiently high priority given by the council to social

inclusion.

Mike Tomlinson, chief inspector of schools, said:

'Bracknell Forest local education authority has had considerable

success in its work so far, but it is not yet providing effective

support for its most vulnerable pupils. It must also continue to

address the performance of pupils aged 14 and over.'

NOTES

1. Inspection of Bracknell Forest local education authority is

published by OFSTED. Members of the public may obtain copies of the

report from Bracknell Forest LEA and it may be downloaded from the

OFSTED web site.

2. The inspection was carried out by OFSTED in conjunction with the

audit commission under Section 38 of the Education Act 1997. It

used the Framework for the Inspection of Local Education

Authorities, which focuses on the effectiveness of the LEA's work

to support school improvement.

3. The inspection was partly based on data, some of which was

provided by the LEA, on school inspection information and audit

reports, on documentation and discussions with LEA members, council

staff, headteachers and governors and representatives of the

dioceses and other partners. In addition, a questionnaire seeking

views on aspects of the LEA's work was circulated to all schools.

The overall response rate was very high at 95 per cent.

4. OFSTED is a non-ministerial government department established

under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for

the inspection of all schools in England. Its inspection role also

includes the inspection of local education authorities, teacher

training institutions, youth work and all 16-19 education. Since

September 2001 OFSTED has had responsibility for the regulation of

early years childcare, including childminders.

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