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Headteachers don't trust Thurrock Council, education probe finds
A DAMNING six-month probe into education in Thurrock has highlighted a lack of trust between the council and headteachers - and said the borough lacked a strategy.
Former Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert carried out the study, which cost the council £25,000, and visited a third of Thurrock’s schools.
The council launched the probe in March after Ofsted’s 2012 annual report found the borough’s children were among those least likely to get a decent primary school education in the UK.
Ms Gilbert drafted in Robert Hill, a former government adviser on education, to help complete the study.
Their findings said:
*there was no strategy for education in Thurrock
*a lack of trust between headteachers and the council *tensions between headteachers
*a need to recruit and hang on to high quality teachers
*aspriations across the whole community needed lifting.
Ms Gilbert’s recommendations will now be put in place with the help of a £1million fund, set aside by the council at the start of the year.
A teachers awards scheme could be set up and more of the borough’s good schools will be encouraged to share what they do well with under-performing schools.
John Kent, Labour leader of Thurrock Council and portfolio holder for education, said: “I really wanted us to have an honest appraisal from two top educationalists looking at Thurrock from a purely independent viewpoint.
“That’s what we’ve got and their comments reinforce what we’ve been saying for years; Thurrock is in a superb place to improve educational attainment and aspiration; that we all need to work together; and that we need to stop focusing on the negative and concentrate and publicise all the positive work that is going on and has been going on here.”
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price was pleased the report was done - but said there was a lot of work to do to put things right.
She said: “The council has also been slow at dealing with failure. There is a poor relationship between school heads and the council.
“It is almost as though the council had low expectations and didn’t see the need to take action to improve performance.
“The culture of low aspiration referred to in the report almost became institutionalised by the actions of this council.”
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