Boost for Norfolk school improvement scheme

Archbishop Sancroft School in Harleston have achieved a good OFSTED rating. Head teacher Richard Cra

Archbishop Sancroft School in Harleston have achieved a good OFSTED rating. Head teacher Richard Cranmer with students.Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan- Archant

Education chiefs have hailed the early success of a scheme to improve the performance of dozens of schools in Norfolk after 18 establishments had their Ofsted ratings upgraded.

Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for education.

Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for education. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Norfolk County Council launched the Norfolk to Good and Great (N2GG) initiative in September to boost the standards of around 100 schools classed as requiring improvement by the education watchdog.

Since the mentoring scheme was launched, 20 under-performing Norfolk schools and academies have been inspected by Ofsted and 18 of them are now rated as good or outstanding.

However, officials at County Hall said there was more work to be done to turn around education performance across the county.

The boost comes after the government announced last week that Norfolk was set to get a 3.7pc increase in education funding with the county near the bottom of the GCSE performance league table.

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The N2GG programme is currently working with 101 schools and academies and has enrolled more than 30 on London Leadership Strategy (LLS) schemes, which have achieved considerable success in the capital.

Some of these schools are linked with outstanding education leaders from elsewhere in the country, while others are receiving targeted support in English or maths. The initiative has been subsidised by the council, but schools pay between £2,000 and £6,000 to access all the support available for two years.

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Of the 20 institutions inspected by Ofsted, one is now outstanding, 17 are good and two still require improvement. Overall, 68pc of the county's schools are now good or outstanding.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for education and schools, said: 'It is encouraging to see that the Norfolk to Good and Great programme is supporting schools to get the good and outstanding judgements we all want to see.'

'We have always said that education is our foremost priority, which is why we invested an extra £1.5m in supporting and challenge school improvement in August. The key is getting strong schools to work with those that need more help, ensuring that we make the best of the talent that already exists in the county and working corroboratively for the benefit all Norfolk children.'

'There is still a significant way to go if all schools are to receive the good or outstanding judgements we expect in the next two years but we are beginning to see some success and the feedback we are receiving from schools on the programme is very encouraging,' he said.

Roger Smith, shadow cabinet member for education and schools at Norfolk County Council, added that there was cross party support at the local authority to improve standards of learning across the county.

'Everyone is completely behind this. It is only a small number of schools, but we are heartened by the news and it shows that hopefully we are on the right lines. School improvement is not going to happen overnight and there is a three year programme to improve Key Stage results as well as GCSE results,' he said.

Archbishop Sancroft Church of England High School, in Harleston, was one of the first schools to sign up to the scheme and was deemed as good by Ofsted when it was inspected in November.

N2GG supported the school by providing a range of experts and advisers to support teaching in science, the analysis of data and the support for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The school remains part of N2GG.

Richard Cranmer, headteacher, said: 'Our continued engagement with N2GG is playing a key role in consolidating our good inspection report in November and our subsequent journey to outstanding.

'This next phase of our development has benefitted enormously from the wide range of support signposted by N2GG and in particular working with those who have a proven track record of leading and supporting outstanding schools.'

The schools inspected so far:

Colitshall Primary School – outstanding

Archbishop Sancroft Church of England High School, Harleston – good

Bressingham Church of England VA Primary School – good

Northgate High School, Dereham - good

Winterton Primary School – good

Great Witchingham Church of England Primary School – good

Glebeland Community Primary School, Tofts Monks – good

Hockering Church of England VC Primary – good

Great Hockham Primary School – good

Magdalen Gates Primary School, Norwich – good

Angel Road Infant School, Norwich – good

Winfarthing All Saints School – good

Tunstead Primary School – good

Little Plumstead VA Primary School – good

Mile Cross Primary School, Norwich – good

Mulbarton Junior School – good

Sandringham and West Newton Church of England Primary Schools– good

Seething and Mundham – good

Bignold Primary School – requires improvement

Peterhouse Church of England VC Primary School – requires improvement.

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