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Ex-Ofsted chief starts her Thurrock education mission
3:40pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
THE former head of Ofsted commissioned to write a report on the state of education in Thurrock has spoken for the first time of the challenges facing her.
Christine Gilbert will spend the next six months talking to governors, teachers, parents and students in the borough before publishing a report in September.
At Monday’s launch of the commission, a summit of headteachers and governors from across Thurrock, which took place at the National Skills Academy in Purfleet, the portfolio holder for education, Cllr Oliver Gerrish was keen to emphasise Ms Gilbert’s report will be focusing on the strengths of education in Thurrock as well as on areas which will require improvement.
He announced the summit at a full council meeting in December just as Ofsted published a report which revealed Thurrock was in the bottom three nationally for the number of good or outstanding primary schools.
The commission into education will be the first of its kind to take place outside of London, with two previously having been carried out in the London borough’s of Haringey and Camden.
Speaking to the Gazette, Ms Gilbert said: “There’s been great success in the last few years, but there needs to be more of it and it needs to happen more quickly in some places.
“We intend to produce a report for September with recommendations. The authority will then do an action plan.
"We will look at the issues with schools that aren’t performing well, but also look at why some schools are managing to perform very well indeed and learn the lessons from those and transfer them across.
“We really want to hear from parents and get their views and experiences of education in Thurrock. The key message would be to look for details of the launch in April and get in touch with us.”
Cllr Gerrish, pictured, said: “It was fantastic today to see a mix of heads, governors and other teaching professionals from right across Thurrock coming together, talking about education and what we can do better.
“The core of the commission is looking at attainment and how well we’re equipping pupils to leave school and go and lead a productive life.”