Call for action over schools

John Holdich ENGEMN00120131211162123
John Holdich ENGEMN00120131211162123
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Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich has hit back at claims that action needs to be taken over poor education performance in the city.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson made the claims following a meeting with Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools at the Department for Education after the city finished 151 out of 151 in the latest national SATS results tests.

But cllr Holdich, who is also the council’s cabinet Member for Education, Skills, and University, and Communications said: “The results are not verified yet, and we expect to move up the table when they are.

“We are also still waiting on the progress results, which are important.

“The results are not good enough, but it is not the council who teaches, it is not the council who runs the schools - it is the governing bodies.

“We have sent out eight warning letters to schools.”

Cllr Holdich said teachers were ‘demoralised’ as a result of public debate over performances, and the city was struggling to retain teachers.

But Mr Jackson said: “On entering the Minister’s office, it became clear we were back in the same place talking about the same problems in Peterborough schools that we have done over the last few years. Unfortunately, as I have spoken out about on many occasions, the situation seems to be getting worse not better.

“Teachers in Peterborough work very hard and have a tough job but I want to ensure that the Department for Education, Regional Schools Commissioner and Local Education Authority (LEA) are working together and doing everything they can to improve performance.”

He added: “I’m not convinced the LEA is really fit for purpose as the best organisation to turn the city’s failing schools around. I think the Government needs to review its plans and powers to intervene directly in education in Peterborough.

“The results have really not improved meaningfully in six or seven years and it’s now at a crisis point and will impact on our future economic prospects.”