Taskforce announces recommendations to improve local schools

December 19 2018

Education chiefs have unveiled 17 steps they may take to tackle the “toxic cocktail” of reasons why schools are struggling in and around Thornbury.

The recommendations come after Castle School in Thornbury and Marlwood School in Alveston took part in a BBC2 documentary ‘School’, which revealed the stark impact of budget cuts on staff and pupils. 

The most recent Ofsted inspections of secondary schools across South Gloucestershire found that six were good, seven were satisfactory and four were inadequate. 

South Gloucestershire councillor Gareth Manson, who heads the cross-party taskforce which aims to tackle the problem, said education in the area is being hit by a “toxic cocktail” of poor performance, low funding and a relative lack of good or outstanding schools.

The group has drawn up a list of recommendations it feels that the council should adopt to boost results, including:

Investigating why other authorities with similar levels of funding perform better and copy those initiatives. 

Head teachers, chief executives of multi-academy trusts (MATs) trustees or directors, chairs of boards and members of MATs should report back to the council, 

The council should remain proactive in scrutinising the performance of academies even though they are outside its direct control.

The council should find ways of facilitating stability amongst key staff particularly senior management, 

The council should consider ways it could secure funds to improve the school estate (even though most secondary schools are academies, the authority still owns the buildings). 

South Gloucestershire schools are among the worst funded in England, and the council has tried various initiatives in recent years to improve educational attainment but with limited success.

The authority’s cabinet will consider a response in the near future.