Thurrock Council needs a clearer vision and schools need to work better together to drive improvements
Robert Hill and Christine Gilbert were commissioned by Thurrock Council to find out how the school system, which was perceived to be under performing, could be improved and performance accelerated.
So what did they find?
First there is no overarching educational vision and strategy in Thurrock that is owned by all. Second, there is a lack of trust between head teachers and the local authority, so the relationship between the Council and heads does not provide the strong platform that is essential for working together to improve schools. Third, there are tensions between some head teachers which affect how schools work with and trust each other. The report says ‘ there is already considerable evidence that suggests that outcomes improve fastest and children and young people benefit most, when schools work together to lead improvement and where they share concern and responsibility for all children and young people in their area , not just their own school’. Fourth, they found that although there have been considerable improvements there are ‘weaknesses to be tackled in the school improvement system. In short ’Their system is not rooted in school leading schools’. They need to develop networks of support rather than parachuting in expertise and resources’. Fifth, it must recruit high quality teaching staff, so better branding and marketing is needed. Finally they need to lift their aspirations across the community and among teachers so that they can achieve more and make more of their opportunities. The report makes six recommendations including the need to redefine the role of the local authority and the need to build a compelling case for change across the community and to develop a powerful vision for education.
Thurrock Education Commission Report –September 2013- Robert Hill and Christine Gilbert