New education plan for Bradford is unveiled

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Councillor Malcolm Sykes Councillor Malcolm Sykes

An in-depth plan to improve education in Bradford and end years of negative headlines will not “gather dust on a shelf,” its authors have assured parents.

Yesterday Bradford Council officially unveiled its Educational Attainment plan for the district – a 16 point document drawn up by the children’s services overview and scrutiny committee.

A year in the making, the report will remain “at the top of the agenda” for the foreseeable future, with pressure on officers, schools and councillors to make sure efforts to improve schools are ongoing.

Recommendations include engaging schools to get involved in partnerships, that every councillor should explore becoming a school governor and that schools do not condone approving authorised absence from school.

Forming a pool of high-quality supply teachers and making it easier to challenge poorly performing teachers are other ways the plan proposes to improve school performance.

The committee includes representatives from schools as well as councillors, and the report was presented at a press conference at City Hall yesterday.

Committee chairman, Councillor Malcolm Sykes, said he would make sure committee members get progress updates at their monthly meetings.

Among the problems it intends to address are rapidly rising pupil numbers, the difficulty in attracting experienced teachers to Bradford, high levels of deprivation among pupils and a large number of children who don’t speak English as a first language.

Coun Sykes said: “This journey is a long one and at the moment can be a struggle, but I am fed up of reading the bad press about Bradford’s schools. I want us to use this document and really make a difference. This is the last time we should be talking about this – now we need to get out and do this.

“As long as I am chair of this committee I fully intend to keep this on the agenda – and will monitor how schools are doing in every single one of these recommendations. This is not going away. Some school are doing very well, and we need to make sure we look at our education system in a glass half full manner.”

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