Southend Council moves forward with investment in schools to boost Ofsted ratings

Southend Council is progressing plans to invest thousands of pounds into three schools to help them improve standards.

Southchurch High, Cecil Jones Academy and Chase High School have each submitted business plans to the council highlighting how they will use a share of £100,000 of council money aimed at helping them to achieve better Ofsted ratings.

While each of the schools are run by academy trusts and the council has no obligation to provide them with support, the council has said that is all part of a wider commitment to having highly rated schools in the borough.

A council spokesman said: “The council is committed to working with local schools and academy trusts so that Southend becomes a place where every child is able to attend a good or outstanding rated school.

“There has always been support for school improvement across the council chamber, and earlier this year one-off funding was approved to further support three secondary schools that are not yet rated good or outstanding.”

The funding was announced as a one-off investment in March after the council achieved a surplus in their end of year budget.

Andrew James, headteacher of Chase High School, in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, said: “Southend Council met me some months back to ask what things they could do to help.

“My answer was two-fold, we need to offer greater support to families whose children struggle with school attendance, and we need to raise awareness of the very positive work going on at Chase High. Both were agreed and we are now working with a company to become more effective at getting out clear messages about Chase High.

“We have just posted the best examination results this school has ever recorded, and we are delighted to open our doors to daytime tours for anyone who wants to know how we are working these days.”

He went on to explain that performing arts had been recognised as a particuarly good subject to give confidence to younger pupils and the school is planning to focus investment in that area.

“In 2018 Ofsted challenged us to improve our pupil attendance and make sure teaching is excellent all over the school, not just in clusters,” Mr James continued.

“I am grateful to a range of partners who have worked with us towards those goals and I am very happy indeed to include Southend Council amongst those people. With their support we are improving life chances for the children who come to us and changing the way people in the community talk about the school we love.”

The work to support the schools will be discussed at a scrutiny meeting on Tuesday night.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter