Swindon Council sets aside £600,000 to improve education services

Swindon Council has set aside £600,000 over the next three years to help improve educational outcomes set out in its Swindon Challenge strategy.

Swindon Challenge brings together all key stakeholders in education including the Regional Schools’ Commissioner, headteachers, the teaching schools, governors, local businesses and senior council leaders. Ofsted have agreed to have observer status to the board.

Swindon Challenge will strive to ensure that every school in Swindon is rated by Ofsted as being ‘good’ or better by 2020, while also increasing the proportion of young people accessing Higher Education by 25 per cent.

Leading educational research and practice will be brought into Swindon to shape and influence leadership in schools. Stronger partnership working with national educational bodies and high performing local authorities will also be high on the Swindon Challenge
agenda to improve outcomes across all Swindon secondary providers.

Another key target will be to ensure that Swindon’s GCSE results and Post 16 indicators at least meet national averages against national benchmarks for all pupils including those with SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability).

There will be an emphasis on phonics outcomes for Year 1 pupils to ensure they are at the national average or above and that reading, writing and mathematics standards are at least in line with national averages when children leave primary school at the age of 11.

The news comes after an Ofsted letter, sent in November, told Swindon Borough Council, head teachers and local MPs the schools were a ‘cause for serious concern’ .

Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Improving education is at the heart of the Council’s Vision, Priorities and Pledges and we have set some challenging targets over the next few years, which is why

Swindon Challenge is so important in helping us to achieve those goals.

“Although we have a number of fantastic schools and exceptional teachers, we know there are areas where we need to do better. We have made great strides already with the work we are doing with phonics and writing in our primary schools and we have worked hard to help some of our secondary schools by setting up partnerships with other schools so they can share best practice and drive up standards.

“But we will not see instant results. This is the start of a journey and it will not be easy, but I am confident with everyone pulling in the right direction Swindon will rise to the challenge.”

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