Some Bradford schools have delivered a damning verdict on the Council’s leadership and support in an online survey.

National watchdog the Audit Commission, in partnership with Ofsted, scored 80 out of 82 education services provided by the Council below national averages after sending a questionnaire to state schools.

This year, nearly half (46 per cent) of all Council education services listed in the poll were judged by schools to be below satisfactory.

Areas which saw significant drops in satisfaction ratings included: l the effectiveness of local services in supporting children and young people to cease smoking and substance abuse which saw its rating drop by eight per cent l the effectiveness of local services in meeting the mental health needs of children and young people which fell by seven per cent l the effectiveness of Bradford Youth Service which lost 11 points.

The clarity of guidance on when to make a child protection referral, the effectiveness of the Council in keeping track of children so that they do not go missing and the Council’s knowledge and understanding of schools and the community they serve also saw scores fall compared to 2007 figures.

Councillor David Ward, the Liberal Democrats’ education expert, questioned the validity of the poll as only two Bradford secondary schools and 29 primaries responded.

He said: “I am not against surveys like this but this has absolutely no value whatsoever. With such an abysmal response it is impossible to provide a true picture of anything.”

But Councillor Ralph Berry, Labour education spokesman, said: “The youth service has long been an area of concern, provision is totally inadequate but annual budget cuts are making things worse.

“Likewise there are long-standing unresolved issues about the support available for children with special needs. The results can’t just be dismissed because of a low response rate because we know that they reflect genuine issues and widespread concerns.”

Kath Tunstall, the Council’s strategic director for services to children and young people, said: “While we always take concerns seriously, the findings of the Audit Commission schools survey are rather misleading.

“The report does not reflect an accurate picture of how schools, children and young people are supported in Bradford by both Education Bradford and the Council as out of 210 schools, 35 responded, the equivalent of a response rate of 17 per cent.

“Nevertheless, it is helpful to see the survey and we will be looking at any areas of concern.

“Earlier this year we were given an excellent Joint Area Review report which found children and young people receive a good quality service from the Council and its partners. This was in addition to an ‘outstanding’ judgement of the Youth Service.”