Northumberland County Council to fund school improvement team despite loss of Government grant
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Council chiefs found the budget to continue funding the team in 2020, after the Government ended the grant that had previously provided the cash.
And speaking at Thursday’s meeting of the council’s family and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, cabinet member for education Guy Renner-Thompson pledged to continue funding the service.
He said: “We have already started discussions on next year’s budget. We have made it very clear that this is a red line for us.
“It can’t be part of any savings for the council budget.”
A report on the team’s performance over the past 12 months explained that Ofsted results were the highest they had ever been in the county, with 93.8% of schools being rated as “good” or “outstanding by the education watchdog. This was higher than the North East average (90%) and the national average (80%).
Just 10 schools in the county are rated as “inadequate” or “requires improvement” – down from 40 in 2017.
Head of school improvement Dave Cookson said: “I’m not aware of any plans from the Department of Education to reintroduce the school improvement grant, and I’m not aware of anything in the pipeline.
“There are some offers that are DfE-led schools improvement. We welcome that, because if there’s high-quality education professionals working with our schools, why wouldn’t you want that.”
Mr Cookson also revealed that school outcomes had now returned to pre-pandemic levels, as shown by recent successes in GCSE and A-Level results.