Educational concerns – letter

Dear Editor

`As the Opposition Spokesperson for Education Skills & Young People on Suffolk County Council (and Vice Chair of the Education Scrutiny Committee) I am writing to express concern that the report in last week`s `Lowestoft Journal` did not give the full picture on the recommendations agreed by the Conservative administration at their cabinet meeting.

The attainment and achievements of all Suffolk`s school pupils are, of course, a prime concern to all especially as Suffolk`s KS2 and KS4 results are towards the bottom of the national league tables. Whilst acknowledging that there is a need for improvement it is right to acknowledge too that there is excellent teaching and learning in Suffolk as proven by Ofsted inspections which shows that 75% of all schools visited are rated as Outstanding or Good.

The report of the RSA suggested an educational link up with Hackney to improve the attainment of Suffolk school children however what was not mentioned was that Hackney spends almost twice as much money on each Primary school pupil as does Suffolk. Ofsted have also rated the `in-house` Suffolk teacher training schemes as excellent so it did appear strange for Suffolk to spend £80,000 on the RSA report when the expertise of their own Suffolk teachers could have been used instead.

In addition some of the major reasons given by Suffolk pupils (in the excellent `Shout Out for Suffolk` appendix) as to how infrastructure affects their learning, such as poor transport in rural and coastal areas, poor broadband connection, removal of the EMA and lack of independent careers advice and guidance were not fully acknowledged in the RSA report. I and my Labour opposition colleagues will be carefully holding the administration to account as it spends the £2.4 million on the planned improvements as children only get one chance in life when it comes to education. `

Cllr Sonia Barker

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