Norfolk school budgets taken over by council

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Council officials have taken direct control of the budgets at eight Norfolk schools in special measures and warned seven others to speed up improvements.

Norfolk County Council said it was "duty-bound" to get involved with seriously under-performing schools but has not yet named those targeted.

A review by independent specialists has praised its "unwavering determination" to improve performance.

The National Union of Teachers in the county is expected to comment later.

The steps were taken after an Ofsted report described the council's actions towards failing schools as "ineffective".

'Unwavering determination'

After the May elections, an alliance of Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats supported by the Green Party and an independent took control of the council.

The Isos Partnership, which specialises in supporting improvements in the public sector, was commissioned to carry out a review of school's policy.

The new leadership's "unwavering determination" to see thorough change, backed by new resources and the acknowledgment of past weaknesses, was praised in its report.

The review said one of the strongest commitments to improvement was to take control of a school's budget.

Councillor Mick Castle said: "Responsibility for school improvement lies directly with schools.

"We have to ensure that there are robust systems in place to both challenge and support schools.

"We are already intervening much more quickly in those causing concern so that we know budgets are being focused on school improvement."

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