Under-performing schools not improving fast enough
Kent’s education chief says that putting new leadership teams into failing schools is not always succeeding in turning them round quickly enough.
Kent County Council education director Patrick Leeson said there was “historic failure” in some schools that was taking longer to address than hoped.
It recently emerged the council had removed 21 head teachers from schools in two years – more than half after their school had failed an Ofsted inspection.
Unions have criticised the rising number being removed from under-performing schools.
Mr Leeson was responding to concerns raised by Labour group leader Gordon Cowan at an education cabinet meeting that KCC was falling short of its target to have no failing schools by 2015 and that figures indicated the number of pupils at good or outstanding schools was falling.
Cllr Cowan said: “Ofsted outcomes for primary schools has fallen compared both with previous performance and to national norms. In 2012, 61% were good or outstanding – a figure described by KCC as unacceptable.
“One wonders then how the authority would describe the current shocking figure of 53%, down again from last year’s 56% compared with a national average of 59%.”
Mr Leeson said the number under-performing was “a matter of great concern”.
“It is partly the case, but it cannot go on being the case, that we are dealing with a lot of historic failure and it is taking some time to address those issues.”
But he said KCC was stemming the flow of failing schools, adding: “We are working very hard to remove them from special measures. Since Christmas, we have had very few schools going into an Ofsted category. We are stemming that flow of failure and that is very encouraging to me, even though I am extremely disappointed that the number of schools in a category is still as high as 29.”
Unions have criticised the rising number of head teachers being removed from schools