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By Matthew Bates Wednesday 20 February 2013 Updated: 26/02 15:03
TWO more failing primary schools could be turned into academies.
Education minister Michael Gove is putting pressure on the city council to take action to improve standards at Three Spires Primary and Sir Frank Whittle Primary - both of which are in special measures.
Mr Gove has even suggested the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), which already runs a special school in Ash Green, as a suitable sponsor for Three Spires.
The council has asked for any such moves to be put off for a year so it can have time to turn both around.
The Observer has seen a copy of a letter Mr Gove sent to Coun David Kershaw, the city's education chief, on Monday following a recent meeting between the pair. They also discussed Ernesford Grange Secondary becoming an academy.
The minister wrote: "For the sake of the students, I believe we must step in now and implement a sponsored Academy solution with an external sponsor.
"External, innovative approaches are needed to challenge underperformance not only for these three schools but across Coventry as a whole."
We reported in November how the city came bottom of a league table which showed under half of children attended a good or outstanding school.
Mr Gove acknowledged improvements had been made but claimed the city was still one of the worst dozen areas in the country.
Coun Kershaw told the Observer the city was improving at a faster rate than anywhere else.
"I'm pleased he's recognised the rapid improvements at primary schools," Coun Kershaw said.
"Since the meeting, the percentage of children attending good or outstanding schools has risen to 58 per cent and will soon be over 60 per cent.
"Surely that is the biggest rise in the country?
"Even he will recognise the rapid and dramatic improvements seen over the last four months.
"We asked if we could get on with our strategy for 12 months and he did not disagree with that.
"He is saying if there isn't an improvement then he may step in."
Coun Kershaw claimed Ernesford Grange had seen huge improvements since new leadership was put in place.
And he added: "I am positive all heads and teaching staff are responding magnificently to the challenge the authority is setting them."
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