EDUCATION CHIEF TO AXE FAILING SCHOOLS
PUBLISHED: 17:24 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010
MORE than 30 schools in the county have been told to improve or face closure. Schools Secretary Ed Balls launched the National Schools Challenge on Tuesday which will require every secondary school in the country to ensure at least 30 per cent of pupils
MORE than 30 schools in the county have been told to improve or face closure.
Schools Secretary Ed Balls launched the National Schools Challenge on Tuesday which will require every secondary school in the country to ensure at least 30 per cent of pupils get five or more GCSE grade A to C passes, including English and maths.
A total of 638 schools are under scrutiny nationwide with 33 coming from Kent including Swanley Technology College, Leigh City Technology College, Wilmington Enterprise College, Northfleet Technology College, Swan Valley Community School and The Wildernesse School.
Mr Balls said: "GCSE success is not the only measure of how a school performs, but it is critical - teenagers need these qualifications to go on to further study, work and prosperity. A young person with five good GCSEs will almost always earn considerably more than a teenager who leaves school with no qualifications. Employers expect these qualifications as a minimum."
"Of course National Challenge schools face real challenges, but no child and no school is on a pre-determined path to low results. There are many schools in communities of high unemployment and low aspirations where children achieve excellent GCSE results. For each National Challenge school, another school facing similar problems has already turned itself around."
The £400 million initiative could mean that up to 70 of the listed schools are converted into Academies - state-funded schools established and managed by private sponsors.
On Tuesday, Kent County Council (KCC) was given a 50-day deadline to draw up action plans to improve the performance of the listed schools. The council is confident that a large number of the schools will move out of the category this summer.
KCC Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Educational Achievement Chris Wells said: "The government challenged us in 2000 to ensure that no school was below 30 per cent in achieving five A*-C GCSEs, not including maths and English, by 2008 and we rose to that task.
"We have detailed action plans to meet the target by 2011 and I am extremely confident that a significant number of the schools who currently fall within the National Challenge will meet the target this summer."
The schools on the hitlist will be given three years to meet the requirement or be closed down and re-opened under new management made up of private firms, universities and successful state schools.