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Southend BC local education authority (LEA) has met with some success in ...
Southend BC local education authority (LEA) has met with some success in

raising standards in schools, and it discharges most of its functions

adequately, according to a report published today by the Office for

Standards in Education. Since it became a unitary authority in April

1998 the LEA has provided its schools with robust and sustained

challenge and set them demanding targets, and its weaker schools have

improved rapidly.

However, although the LEA has met with some success in raising

standards in schools, inspectors say that it has not been

consistently effective in doing so, and its approach has not done

enough to support school autonomy. The LEA has not been successful in

providing all of its functions satisfactorily and is weak in its

provision for some of its most vulnerable children. The LEA does not

have clear strategies for special educational needs and inclusive

education to match its commitment to these issues, and its support

for behaviour is unsatisfactory. While most of the LEA's provision is

adequate, it has both significant strengths and weaknesses. Its

strengths include:

- the level of financial delegation and the provision of financial

information to schools;

- support to schools for the use of performance data;

- the implementation of modernised council structures;

- support for literacy and early years;

- planning for school places.

Its weaknesses include:

- the relationship between the LEA and most foundation secondary


- support for information and communication technology in schools;

- support for management in schools;

- support for pupils who have no school place;

- support for children in public care;

- measures to counter racism.

Inspectors say that while they recognise the good work of members and

officers in attaining adequate or better provision for most of the

LEA's services in so short a time, provision to promote social

inclusion needs to improve. Chief inspector Mike Tomlinson said:

'Southend on Sea local education

authority has the capacity to improve further, and the LEA now needs

to bring to bear the resolve it demonstrated in its strategy for

school improvement to tackle the weaknesses set out in this report.'

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