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
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
The LEA's particular strengths include:
* the monitoring, challenge, intervention and support provided to
* 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
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
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.'
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.