Opinion Former Article

NUT: If Ofsted were serious they'd support London Challenge and City Challenge schemes which the Coalition scrapped

Commenting on Ofsted’s Annual Report, published today, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Naming and shaming local authorities would certainly suit Michael Gove's agenda of forcing all local authorities into the position of converting schools to academies. Furthermore it is absurd that academy schools, over which local authorities have no influence, are included in these local authority league tables, skewing the picture of the performance of schools that remain within the local authority family.

“If Ofsted were serious about promoting regional successes, it would be championing the huge success of the London Challenge and City Challenge schemes which the Coalition Government brought to an end in 2010.

“It is clear from all the evidence that the improvement in schools in London, Greater Manchester and the Black Country came as a result of the opportunities for schools to work together and the additional funding of over £160 million that they received. Evaluation of the scheme found that schools in the programme improved more than those that became sponsored academies. In addition, those sponsored academies that did register raised standards only did so because they had been part of City Challenge.

“As there is little evidence that academy status in itself improves education, expanding the proven successful approach of the City Challenge would be far more sensible, and certainly far less costly, than pursuing the Government’s academies and free schools programme.”     

                                                            END                                       pr188-2012
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