Medway Labour will be tabling a motion at the next Full Council with an action plan to support improvement under a new and focused Director. We will also seek a mandate to bring Academy Schools under greater local authority oversight, a commitment to solely qualified teachers in our schools and measures to encourage governor recruitment.
Major questions remain about the Portfolio holder Cllr Tolhurst making poor responses to questions on the appointment of a key officer tasked with school improvement. As a result of the deteriorating situation under her stewardship we believe new leadership is needed that should be solely focused on the task of school improvement.
Cllr Adam Price on behalf of Medway Labour
“We are extremely disappointed and angry that once again Medway Council is bottom of the OFSTED rankings for Primary Education and ranked 150th of all local authorities in England. Draft 2014 results at Key Stage 2 show that Medway has not closed the gap and that our primary schools are still 4% behind the national average in terms of achievement at this key stage in children’s education.”
“We have consistently called for Education in Medway to be prioritised under a single Directorate and for a clear and focused plan to improve our Primary Schools including developing senior leadership and improving recruitment of school governors.
“It is staggering that the Portfolio holder responsible for Educational improvement can claim that schools are on a ‘journey of improvement’ when the reality is we have fallen 6% in percentage of children in primary schools either requiring improvement or in special measures and we are bottom of the table. Our results have actually gone into reverse gear. We need an agenda of excellence and qualification from teacher to head teacher.
In addition to poor outcomes, it has become clear from responses at a scrutiny meeting on Tuesday night, that Cllr Kelly Tolhurst some 6 months later still does not have a timescale for the permanent appointment of an Assistant Director responsible for school improvement.”
“We have not seen the improvement our parents, teachers and children deserve and for that reason the Portfolio holder in charge of School Improvement should consider her position, and stand aside for someone who is solely focused on improving education in Medway. “
Naushabah Khan, Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood:
“The Portfolio Holder placed local school improvement as a priority in her six point plan for the area whilst a PPC, yet it is under her watch that we have seen unqualified teachers in our classrooms and standards fall. The results of the OFSTED report published this week, placing primary schools in Medway at the bottom of the league table, are very worrying and it is clear that the local authority have failed to take control of the situation.
This cannot continue and we must take this issue seriously, otherwise we risk failing a generation of children. This requires strong leadership and a strategy for school improvement in Medway that involves both central and local government
I would therefore ask the Portfolio Holder for School Improvement to reconsider her position and make way for someone who can deliver.’