Friday, June 14, 2024

Former Ofsted boss to head special commission on education in Thurrock

THE former head of Ofsted – Christine Gilbert – has accepted Thurrock’s invitation to lead a six month “commission” on education in Thurrock.

Ms Gilbert became Chief Inspector on 1 October, 2006 and is highly respected in the education community.

At Wednesday (13 February) evening’s meeting of Thurrock Council’s cabinet, education portfolio holder Cllr Oliver Gerrish announced the commission which will launch with an Education Summit on 18 March.

Cllr Gerrish said: “I said we’d be having the summit some time ago and it has taken quite a while to get everybody’s diary in sync, but this is the start of an exciting time for education in the borough.

“We are on the way up, we are heading in the right direction of having each and every one of our schools judged ‘good’ or better by Ofsted.

“Christine Gilbert’s commission will take a very close look at where we are and what we are doing. I am sure she’ll find much that is good, but we chose her to head things up because I am equally confident that she won’t pull any punches.

“We want to know what we’re doing right – so we can do more of it – and what we’re not – so that we can change it. We want our schools to learn best practice from each other, to share and celebrate their successes and to be open to new ideas.

“We are improving rapidly, but I want it to be faster still – I don’t want to be embarrassed by being labelled one of the worst three areas in the country for primary education. It’s not true now and I don’t want it to be true ever again.

“We need to build on the recent peer review which congratulated us on our partnership working; I want a detailed ‘stock-take’ of exactly where we are now and how we can improve on that; and I want this six-month commission to set us on a clear path to becoming the best – a path that can be seen and understood by every man, woman and child in Thurrock.”

Cllr Gerrish later highlighted £1 million the council is planning to take from its reserves over the next three years to support its school improvement plans during that time.

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