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SCHOOLS STANDARDS MINISTER ENDORSES RESCUE PACKAGE FOR ISLINGTON ARTS AND MEDIA SCHOOL

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School Standards Minister Estelle Morris today endorsed a package of robust measures for securing long-term improve...
School Standards Minister Estelle Morris today endorsed a package of robust measures for securing long-term improvement at the Islington Arts & Media School, following a critical assessment by OFSTED.

Despite a number of important improvements at the school, OFSTED's judgement is that insufficient progress has been made, and that the school should be put into special measures.

CEA@Islington - which took over responsibility for all services to schools and pupils in Islington this April - today announced a range of supporting measures to ensure that the school succeeds.

Commenting on CEA@Islington's announcement, Estelle Morris said: 'I welcome the steps which CEA@Islington are taking to continue to raise standards at Islington Arts & Media School. OFSTED's report shows that substantial progress has been made over he past few months.

'Behaviour and attendance, for instance, have improved significantly. But real problems remain. Urgent action is needed to improve the quality of education offered by the school.

'I am pleased that CEA@Islington is taking the necessary steps - notably by strengthening the governing body, providing intensive support on improving attendance and punctuality, and helping to recruit - and retain - staff with the necessary background and experience.

'It is clear from OFSTED's report that the school did not receive the support it needed under Islington Council. It is equally clear that the new regime is already making a difference.'

'Fresh Start is not an easy option. But the alternative of leaving a school to continue to fail until it drifts into closure is not acceptable. We must always act in the best interests of the pupils.

'There are already signs of improvement at the fresh start schools that opened in September 1998 - exam results are up and truancy is down. And our overall policies for tackling failing schools are working - total numbers are down and the average turn-round time has fallen to an average of 18 months.

'The Department for Education and Employment will work closely with CEA and the Islington Arts & Media School to ensure that standards continue to improve and special measures status can be withdrawn. I am confident that the structures are now in place to deliver the high quality service that both pupils and parents rightly expect.'

NOTES

1. Following a series of critical OFSTED reports on its predecessor, George Orwell School, which culminated in closure of the school, Islington Arts & Media School opened as a 'fresh start' school in September 1999.

2. OFSTED conducted a regular monitoring visit of the school on 19 and 20 June, as a result of which the school has now been put into special measures.

3. CEA@Islington took on full responsibility for statutory services to schools and pupils in Islington at the beginning of April this year.

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