RESPECTED educationalist and Professor of Learning, Bill Lucas, will be giving the keynote speech at the first Thurrock Education Awards later this month.
Mr Lucas has already praised Thurrock for the way the council and schools interact in his online blog (http://eednet.wordpress.com/ Why local authorities can still matter), describes the awards as “innovative” and explains how he will be working in the borough next summer “to publish the Thurrock Journal of Expansive education to showcase action research undertaken by its teachers”.
In his blog, he says: “In recent years it has become fashionable to knock local authorities. They are, so the argument goes, inefficient and an unnecessary brake on school autonomy and innovation.
“So it is with genuine surprise and pleasure that yesterday I found myself in Thurrock launching the local authority’s membership of the eedNET.
“The Borough of Thurrock has decided that spending its money to enable all 52 of its schools to participate is a good idea. In fact, following a review of its provision by ex Ofsted Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert, created the Thurrock Excellence Network to bring all of its headteachers together to focus on the leadership of improvement in schools.
“The Network has a budget of Â£1million over three years which is devolved to headteachers and principals – including the teaching schools – to distribute.”
Carmel Littleton, Thurrock Council’s Director of Children’s Services, said: “Getting Bill Lucas to speak at our inaugural awards is a measure of our success.
“Three or four years ago our primary schools were at a start of a journey, but in that short a time we have turned that around so now internationally renowned education experts want to come here to speak with us, to work with us and to praise us.”
She added: “Thurrock has always been a little slow to celebrate its successes whether it’s the council, schools or individuals. The time for that attitude has ended. On Friday, 29 November, Thurrock will be shouting its successes from the rooftops and long may that continue.”