We must sort out failing schools

Brentwood Weekly News: Tony Ball Tony Ball

THE man in charge of education in Essex says his number one priority is to help Basildon’s young people improve their shocking exam results.

The percentage of pupils gaining five A to C grades, including maths and English, at GCSE level in the town’s secondary schools is just 36.5 per cent, well below the national average of 57 per cent.

However, just a few miles away in Billericay and Wickford teenagers do remarkably better, achieving an average of 63 per cent.

Further afield, 64.9 per cent of pupils in Southend gained five A to C grades, including maths and English, last year.

Stephen Castle, Essex county councillor responsible for education, said Basildon is now his top priority and he wants to see results improve.

Mr Castle said: “I look after 600 schools across the whole of the county, so it’s a big job I have on my hands.

“After doing a lot of work in Canvey and Harlow, Basildon is my number one priority and we need to raise aspirations in the community.

“There are lots of issues which we need to tackle and lots of the problems begin in primary schools. We need to raise attainment so children have the basic skills when they get to secondary school.

“The results are not good enough and there are two things we need to improve.

“We need to get parents a lot more involved with their children’s education and improve the leadership of our schools.

“We need to be getting in good governors and making sure schools have strong leadership teams.

“Basildon should not be below the national average for GCSE results. There’s no reason for it. The borough is not a severely- deprived area.”

In 2011, pupils at the Basildon Upper Academy in Wickford Avenue, Pitsea, scored an average of just 33 per cent and De La Salle School, in Ghyllgrove, Basildon, achieved an average of 34 per cent.

Pupils at Billericay School, in School Lane, achieved an average of 65 per cent, as did Beauchamps School, in Wickford.

The Basildon Academies, which is now in special measures, opened in 2009 with a £50million revamp and the joining of Chalvedon and Barstaple schools.

The school came bottom in the Basildon district for its GCSE results last year and Mr Castle said he had real concerns about performance, but has limited powers because it is an academy.

He said: “I have raised these concerns with the school and the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, on several occasions.

“As the local authority, we have limited powers to intervene, but we can highlight areas of concern and offer support and advice to the academies.

“Essex County Council now expects the Department for Education to use its powers to address weaknesses at the school, while we continue to offer constructive, but challenging, advice and support.”

Mr Castle has also been appointed to an education advisory body which is drawing up plans on ways to improve relationships between local authorities and academies.

The results of the inquiries will be reported back to Mr Gove.

Mr Castle said he hoped, under new rules, councils would have more powers over academies.

He added: “James Hornsby School in Basildon is looking at becoming an academy and working with King John in Benfleet to share resources.

“I have no problem with schools wanting to become academies, as long as they have a strong leadership team at their head. This pairing is a good example of an outstanding school coming alongside another school to try to do as well as they can.”

PARENTS have been accused of treating Basildon’s schools as a babysitting service, according to the council leader.

Tony Ball, a Conservative councillor, said parents needed to appreciate schools in the borough and start ensuring their children used them properly.

He also said driving up attendances was a key area in improving standards.

He spoke out as the disparity between the GCSE achievements of students in the town, the wider borough and elsewhere in Essex was fully revealed.

Mr Ball said: “Low attendance is a massive issue, which I frankly find striking.

“Parents and the children need to take ownership of the school they are in and appreciate it. Some people use schools as a babysitting service. There is no excuse not to go to school or not care about what your child is doing in school.

“You have children in Africa who walk miles each day to go to school and there are lots of people here in the borough who don’t appreciate what we have got.

“We all have to work together, especially parents and the community, to raise aspirations and attainment.

“There are issues with children going to school who have not been fed properly. Schools are such an asset to our communities and it’s a privilege to be able to go to one. ”

He also said headteachers needed help to get on with the job of improving pupil attainment. He added: “The leaders in our schools need to be showing parents and the community the way.

“If you look at the Ofsted reports, there is one common feature in most and that is inadequate governorship in many of the schools.

“This means that headteachers often have to deal with lots more issues which governors should be dealing with and its simply not fair.

“Therefore, this combination creates poor standards and, ultimately, gives poor outcomes for some of our students.”

Comments (9)

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8:27am Wed 13 Jun 12

Squirm says...

Schools cannot compensate for the society in which they operate. It is a problem that can only be solved holistically. Many Bazzo parents have abdicated their educational responsibilities. They perhaps believe that the school can do it all. Children learn from their parents first and in some cases that means lack of pride and ambition.
Schools cannot compensate for the society in which they operate. It is a problem that can only be solved holistically. Many Bazzo parents have abdicated their educational responsibilities. They perhaps believe that the school can do it all. Children learn from their parents first and in some cases that means lack of pride and ambition. Squirm

9:17am Wed 13 Jun 12

The Cater Wood Creeper says...

The Basildon Academies, which is now in special measures, opened in 2009 with a £50million revamp and the joining of Chalvedon and Barstaple schools.



it's Barstable, not Barstaple.

Back to school, Echo!
[quote]The Basildon Academies, which is now in special measures, opened in 2009 with a £50million revamp and the joining of Chalvedon and Barstaple schools. [/quote] it's Barstable, not Barstaple. Back to school, Echo! The Cater Wood Creeper

10:23am Wed 13 Jun 12

The Cater Wood Creeper says...

“You have children in Africa who walk miles each day to go to school and there are lots of people here in the borough who don’t appreciate what we have got.



they don't have the luxury of having a welfare state to keep their kids fat and in benefits when they leave school though do they?
[quote]“You have children in Africa who walk miles each day to go to school and there are lots of people here in the borough who don’t appreciate what we have got. [/quote] they don't have the luxury of having a welfare state to keep their kids fat and in benefits when they leave school though do they? The Cater Wood Creeper

11:17am Wed 13 Jun 12

Bonky Badger says...

Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits.

They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child.

I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn.

It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class.

Just get rid of them.
Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits. They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child. I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn. It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class. Just get rid of them. Bonky Badger

1:14pm Wed 13 Jun 12

AnotherSister says...

Bonky Badger wrote:
Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits.

They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child.

I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn.

It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class.

Just get rid of them.
I agree with the basics of what you say, but surely segregating them will create a situation where like breeds like and expands, plus, branding them as irreversible no-hopers isn't going to encourage them to better themselves.
[quote][p][bold]Bonky Badger[/bold] wrote: Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits. They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child. I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn. It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class. Just get rid of them.[/p][/quote]I agree with the basics of what you say, but surely segregating them will create a situation where like breeds like and expands, plus, branding them as irreversible no-hopers isn't going to encourage them to better themselves. AnotherSister

1:32pm Wed 13 Jun 12

Bonky Badger says...

AnotherSister wrote:
Bonky Badger wrote:
Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits.

They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child.

I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn.

It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class.

Just get rid of them.
I agree with the basics of what you say, but surely segregating them will create a situation where like breeds like and expands, plus, branding them as irreversible no-hopers isn't going to encourage them to better themselves.
I don't think they want to better themselves. All the encouragement in the world won't change that.

I don't see why they should be allowed to drag everyone else down to their level.
[quote][p][bold]AnotherSister[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bonky Badger[/bold] wrote: Most - not all - of the parents of these low achievers are brain-dead low achievers themselves who grow fat and lazy on a steady diet of benefits. They have no ambition, no drive and expect the school to raise their child. I would simply segregate the idle, trouble-making morons and put them in a special "no hopers" class away from those children and parents who do want to learn. It only takes one of these teenage scumbags in the class to bring down the standard for everyone else in the class. Just get rid of them.[/p][/quote]I agree with the basics of what you say, but surely segregating them will create a situation where like breeds like and expands, plus, branding them as irreversible no-hopers isn't going to encourage them to better themselves.[/p][/quote]I don't think they want to better themselves. All the encouragement in the world won't change that. I don't see why they should be allowed to drag everyone else down to their level. Bonky Badger

6:16pm Wed 13 Jun 12

janee says...

Given the ignorant and insulting comments above, I would be very tempted to give up work and live on benefits.

Dealing with the education issue, the fact that the local education authority cannot improve 'failing' schools when they are academies underlines exactly what is wrong with the whole Academy programme.

I suggest those who have posted the nasty comments should educate themselves about the damage Michael Gove is doing to the education service. You can start by getting hold of the full set of exam results and understanding what they mean, rather than going by the "education isn't what it used to be" headlines. When you have done that, then post an informed comment based on fact not prejudice.
Given the ignorant and insulting comments above, I would be very tempted to give up work and live on benefits. Dealing with the education issue, the fact that the local education authority cannot improve 'failing' schools when they are academies underlines exactly what is wrong with the whole Academy programme. I suggest those who have posted the nasty comments should educate themselves about the damage Michael Gove is doing to the education service. You can start by getting hold of the full set of exam results and understanding what they mean, rather than going by the "education isn't what it used to be" headlines. When you have done that, then post an informed comment based on fact not prejudice. janee

6:35pm Wed 13 Jun 12

Dids says...

janee, I suggest you take a few hours in Basidon Town Centre and see how some of these so called parents behave themselves and the language they use, their kids stand no chance, they are brought up as it being normal behaviour
janee, I suggest you take a few hours in Basidon Town Centre and see how some of these so called parents behave themselves and the language they use, their kids stand no chance, they are brought up as it being normal behaviour Dids

12:32pm Thu 14 Jun 12

Bonky Badger says...

janee wrote:
Given the ignorant and insulting comments above, I would be very tempted to give up work and live on benefits.

Dealing with the education issue, the fact that the local education authority cannot improve 'failing' schools when they are academies underlines exactly what is wrong with the whole Academy programme.

I suggest those who have posted the nasty comments should educate themselves about the damage Michael Gove is doing to the education service. You can start by getting hold of the full set of exam results and understanding what they mean, rather than going by the "education isn't what it used to be" headlines. When you have done that, then post an informed comment based on fact not prejudice.
Clearly everything was perfect and everyone spoke the Queen's English without error before Michael Gove got into power?

I believe the rot started with Labour making everything too easy.

Of course the Public Sector Luvvies are Labourites through and through so they see everything in rose-tinted glasses.

I think you need to see the real world, Janee.
[quote][p][bold]janee[/bold] wrote: Given the ignorant and insulting comments above, I would be very tempted to give up work and live on benefits. Dealing with the education issue, the fact that the local education authority cannot improve 'failing' schools when they are academies underlines exactly what is wrong with the whole Academy programme. I suggest those who have posted the nasty comments should educate themselves about the damage Michael Gove is doing to the education service. You can start by getting hold of the full set of exam results and understanding what they mean, rather than going by the "education isn't what it used to be" headlines. When you have done that, then post an informed comment based on fact not prejudice.[/p][/quote]Clearly everything was perfect and everyone spoke the Queen's English without error before Michael Gove got into power? I believe the rot started with Labour making everything too easy. Of course the Public Sector Luvvies are Labourites through and through so they see everything in rose-tinted glasses. I think you need to see the real world, Janee. Bonky Badger

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