Troubleshooters ‘will be chance to raise standards’
A GOVERNMENT minister has defended sending troubleshooters to Kent to boost classroom standards at 33 of the county’s poorest performing secondary schools. Vernon Coaker, the schools minister, said the decision, which provoked a major political row with Kent County Council, was the right one as it gave all involved a chance to reflect on how standards could be driven up. He was speaking after a visit to schools in Gravesend. A report setting out what expert advisers believe needs to be done to help Kent schools on the government’s National Challenge initiative because they are not getting enough pupils to pass GCSEs is due to be published in the New Year. Mr Coaker said: “One of the benefits of the review is that it gives all of us a chance to reflect and consider what we are doing and whether there is more that could be done. “We will end up with an implementation plan that works and that can build on the progress that has been made so we can see standards at every single school improve.” He welcomed the co-operation of KCC with the review of its schools, saying: “We are very happy with the co-operation we have had and believe that we will be able to come forward with a plan that will continue and sustain the progress that is being made.” At the time of the government’s intervention, KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter said it amounted to a “kick in the guts” to the 33 schools, a third of which had already passed the Government’s target for 30 per cent of students to get five or more good GCSEs.