Oxfordshire council plan for under-achieving schools

A council in Oxfordshire has drawn up a new plan to try to tackle its under-achieving schools.

Oxford has been near the bottom of local authority league tables at both primary and secondary level for the past three years.

The city is the worst placed in the country at Key Stage 1, for five to seven year olds.

The six-point plan by Oxfordshire County Council includes asking local business leaders to be governors.

'Nobody's interests'

The plan also includes the best schools helping the worst with cash incentives, an emphasis on "quality of teaching" and the council working more closely with schools which fall, or are in danger of falling, below the expected standards.

Melinda Tilley, the county council's cabinet member for school improvement, said: "Most teachers are professionals and they're in their job to do their very best for the children in their care, and they want the good results as well."

Commenting on the issue of schools performance, education expert Prof John Howson said he was "flabbergasted" to discover the city's schools were under-performing to such an extent.

"You can't afford to have teachers that are not hitting the ground running," he added.

Ms Tilley said it was in nobody's interests for schools to under perform or "coast".

"Being on or around national averages in many areas may at first glance give the impression of stable if unspectacular performance," she said.

"However, Oxfordshire is an affluent county and should be doing infinitely better.

"In my view even outstanding isn't good enough - you can never stop trying to do better."

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