Labour shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt pledges director of school standards on visit to Lowestoft
A director of school standards should be appointed for the Lowestoft and Waveney areas to help tackle what a parliamentary candidate for the district has described as a "deeper-rooted problem of under-achievement" in the town and surrounding areas.
That is the view of Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow education secretary, after he visited Lowestoft to discuss the issues facing a town which recently had three of its four high schools in “special measures”.
The situation in the town has since improved, with Ormiston Denes and East Point academies being lifted out of their “inadequate” ratings by Ofsted earlier this year.
However they are still graded as “requires improvement”, with a number of primary schools in the area also receiving the bottom two ratings.
That has led Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Waveney, Bob Blizzard, to say: “We need to look not just at the schools individually, because there has been - and still is - a deeper rooted problem of under-achievement.
“I do think schools across the across the board need some support mechanism to help raise standards in the town.”
Mr Hunt, he believes, has the answer, as he met with parents and governors at Lowestoft schools to pledge that local directors of school standards will work with primaries and secondaries continuously to drive up standards.
They would not, Mr Hunt said, just turn up periodically to inspect them - instead the schools would be accountable to the director of school standards and parents could make complaints to that person also.
Mr Hunt also proposed reducing class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, as well as putting grater emphasis on vocational qualifications for those who do not want to pursue an academic route.
During the visit he too talked about Labour’s plan to reduce university tuition fees, from £9,000 per year to £6,000 per year.
Mr Blizzard said: “As an ex teacher, I do believe that a director of school standards is what we need - but I urged Tristram Hunt to ensure we have a structure that is focused on our area, rather than a Suffolk-wide system that has let us down and left us out in the past.
“I also think that a new emphasis on vocational and technical education is spot on for Lowestoft.”
Conservative candidate Peter Aldous has said that the academy model, expanded under the coallition government, has given schools more freedom and greater access to funding, thereby helping to drive up standards.
However the Greens’ Graham Elliott and Liberal Democrat Steve Gordon have criticised the academy model.
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