Peterborough faces ‘unique migration challenge’ says review into city’s education

Newark Hill Academy celebrating its 'good' Ofsted report
Newark Hill Academy celebrating its 'good' Ofsted report
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A review into education in Peterborough has concluded that the city faces a “unique set of challenges” due to high levels of migration.

A “perfect storm” is how city council portfolio holder for education, Cllr Lynne Ayres, described the situation in Peterborough’s schools as she laid out a series of recommendations to improve results.

However, the report was swiftly criticised by Labour’s council group leader Cllr Ed Murphy who said the Department for Education should put the authority into special measures and take on its responsibilities.

Cllr Ayres said: “There is a need for us all to unite and work together to address the issues that we face and to ensure a bold educational strategy across the whole authority area.”

The report was commissioned after Peterborough was ranked second bottom out of 152 local authorities in England following the publication of SATS results.

Recommendations include establishing a Strategic Board for Education, Further Education and Skills and employing a data analyst at the council.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director: people and communities, said the council had not done “as well as we should have done” with responding to the “churn” in Peterborough as the authority should have been better at targeting the areas most affected.

Speaking about the future appointment of a data analyst, she said: “When we have got the data we will see the in-year churn. What I would want to do is meet with a group of schools affected by the churn and work out how to minimise the impact.”

Cllr Murphy added: “It is time that the city council took this matter much more seriously and had an all-party approach with a chair of the committee and cabinet spokesperson who have the confidence of the whole council and are not just paid lackeys of the incompetent leader who himself had the education portfolio as schools got worse and hit bottom of the league tables.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “I welcome this report and it is good that we now have an evidence-based assessment to work from. Ensuring that schools, teaching staff, the council and all other relevant stakeholders are all on the same page is vital.

“However, it is action that is required - it is long overdue - and this report will be judged by the results it achieves and nothing else. The next stage is implementation and that needs to commence forthwith.”