Schools plan wins support

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

MAJOR £200,000 plans to boost attainment levels of secondary school pupils in Hartlepool have been agreed by councillors.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to raise standards across the town and the new finance and policy committee has agreed measures in a bid to do that.

Town secondary schools have, over the last six years, increased the percentage of pupils obtaining five GCSE passes at A* to C, including maths and English from 39 per cent in 2008 to 57 per cent in 2011 but that fell to just 48 per cent in 2012.

Therefore, £200,000 has been set aside and a series of measures agreed including:

l All five secondary schools will have an external review carried out this academic year.

If OFSTED has already been in, that will be regarded as the external review, if not, then the local authority will commission a review team at a cost of between £4,000 and £6,000;

l Following the review, an action plan will be agreed to address “improvement issues” with each school assessed individually;

l The local authority will match-fund the agreed priorities up to around £20,000 per school;

l Longer term, the council could create a new post of secondary school improvement officer for teaching and learning.

It has also been agreed to stop sharing the post of assistant director (education), currently held by Dean Jackson, between Hartlepool and Darlington Borough Council.

A key part of his role is to work with all Hartlepool schools to continue driving up attainment levels and his shared role will come to an end on August 31.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne said: “Dean is coming back to the job that he is paid for and I have no doubt that the situation will improve.”

Following the publication of the 2012 GCSE results Hartlepool Borough Council decided to allocate funding to support town secondary schools to bring about improvements in pupil outcomes over the next three years and to ensure all schools are judged by OFSTED to be good or outstanding by September 2015.

Leader of the council, Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “We made the decision to raise the education attainment levels in our secondary schools and that is what we are going to do.”