THURROCK’S schools will be taking ever-more control of the borough’s education and schools following agreement at Wednesday (19 March) evening’s council cabinet meeting.
Members were discussing how recommendations from the Education Commission had been moved forward in recent months.
Education portfolio holder and Council Leader, Cllr John Kent told the meeting: “There has been a great deal of publicity about the Education Commission, much of it, sadly, misinformed, but this report tonight touches on many of the positives the commission has brought about.
“It’s good to see that so many of the commission’s recommendations are moving forward.
“Tonight we are putting forward the official bureaucratic necessities so the Education Alliance can be created and have start-up finance, support, and power to move forward our joint agenda for the future of education in Thurrock.
“This will bring together the council, the teachers and the governors working together to a common aim for young people in the borough.
“We are encouraging and helping the schools themselves to work among themselves sharing best practice and helping each other.
“And we are working together to increase pride in our borough, pride in our schools and pride in our young people themselves.”
Cllr Kent said “good progress” was being made on the commission’s six recommendations, adding: “I am sure that as time goes by and as it becomes increasingly obvious it’s the schools themselves who are leading this process – I hope with the support of cabinet, all members and officers but equally as importantly the community as a whole – then those who appear to enjoy celebrating disappointment will find their opportunities and audiences shrinking to nothing.”
He said: “We have got where we are by working – and talking – with all schools in Thurrock and we now need cabinet to agree that the Alliance can go ahead.
“It will highlight how co-operation between this authority and schools, academies and colleges is working to accelerate – and maintain – Thurrock’s transformation in education, creating a realistic and achievable vision for the future; making sure everyone involved or interested in education here has a voice; and by taking responsibility for the delivery of the Education Commission report action plan.
“The Alliance will be the main forum to reflect on progress, share challenges and breakthroughs, and to generate new ideas and plans.
“In addition, we’re proposing the Thurrock Excellence Network, a school-led partnership to drive school improvement and including all schools.
“It will have a steering group made up predominantly of head teachers and should include all the teaching schools and will include our Director of Children’s Services.
“The Excellence Network will be accountable to the Education Alliance and will be responsible for detailed commissioning and delivery.
“Finally, we all know such major change cannot happen without the lubricant of finance. While our schools, colleges and academies do have their own money, some seed funding is necessary and that’s why we are using the £1 million already set aside to boost school improvement to support these proposals.”