THREE-QUARTERS of Coventry’s primary school children are now attending a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school after a dramatic turnaround from being the worst in the country.
Coventry City Council has now decided to apply the same methods to improving secondary schools, even though most are now independent academies.
And the Labour party nationally is set to use the city as a shining example in its election manifesto, Coventry’s cabinet member for education David Kershaw claims.
Two years ago, Coventry came bottom of a national league table by watchdog Ofsted, when just 42 per cent of the city’s primary school children attended a school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted inspectors – the top two categories.
The latest council figures claims 74 per cent of primary aged children now do so.
The improvement follows around 40 Ofsted inspections in Coventry last year, including one week of citywide inspections which resulted in two more schools being placed in “special measures” as failing schools.
None of the city’s 84 primary schools is now in “special measures”, although some face challenges since being placed in the “requires improvement” category.
Labour councillor Kershaw, ex-head of Coundon Court School who since retirement helped government turnaround teams improve schools in northern England, said the council’s “school on school support” programme had impressed not only the Labour party nationally but coalition ministers.
The scheme involves heads and staff from the city’s better performing schools going in to help struggling schools, alongside support and “rigorous monitoring” from the council’s education officers.
Coun Kershaw said: “Because of what we’ve achieved with our primary schools, we’re now started working with the city’s secondary schools and we expect good results this time next year.
“My great passion is to improve the quality of life for our young children in our schools.
“Tristram Hunt (Labour shadow health minister) and even Michael Gove (former Tory education secretary) before his departure have said they admire what Coventry has achieved.
“Our school to school support programme is going to be a critical part of Labour policy on education.”
“The results have been outstanding and remarkable and are changing young people’s lives.
“I think this is partly down to our unique model of working in partnership but also down to the hard work and commitment of our schools, staff, governors, parents and students.”