This is a copy of my opinion article in this week's READING CHRONICLE
Schools in Reading are improving
A quick glance at our Key Stage 2 results shows that of 152 councils in England, Reading was judged to be 149th in 2013, 130th in 2014, 103rd in 2015 and 50th in 2016. And this year for the first time in 10 years schools in the borough achieved above the national average results.
- Undertaking a £61million school expansion plan, ranging from 10 new classrooms at Alfred Sutton Primary to a completely brand new school at Reading Girls.
- Launching a 3 year schools’ performance improvement plan, which specifically includes support for closing the gaps in academic achievement and reducing the obstacles to recruiting and retaining teachers and school staff.
However, it is frustrating how little direct power the council actually has on the delivery of education in the town. For example:
- The long-awaited decisions on the possible development of a new primary at Mapledurham is stuck somewhere in Whitehall
- Free schools can pop up anywhere rather than where a new school may be needed, regardless of the impact on existing schools.
- Schools can decide to turn themselves into academies without any refunding of millions of pounds borrowed by the council for their improvement.
I am proud of the work Reading Council does in a relentless search to improve schools for all.