Norfolk schools ‘to be told where to improve’ at start of new term

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Headteachers and governors of all Norfolk’s primary schools will be told where they need to improve performance as the new academic year begins this week.

The move was revealed after government figures showed Norfolk remains one of the worst performing counties in the country for 11-year-olds reaching expected standards in reading, writing and maths.

The number of pupils achieving the expected level four or above in all three areas rose by one per cent this year to 75 per cent.

But that still remains five percentage points below the national average, which also rose by one per cent to 80 per cent.

And, according to the Department for Education, the county remains the joint eighth worst in England for the proportion of students achieving all the required standards.

Now, Norfolk County Council has revealed it will send the heads and governors of all the county’s primary schools an analysis of their performance and areas for improvement in the coming year during the first week of the new term.

Officials say the documents are designed to give school leaders a “head start” on how they should focus their efforts in the months ahead, as part of the council’s role in supporting the improvement of schools, rather than their daily management.

James Joyce, chairman of the county council’s children’s services committee, said the new figures showed more of the county’s pupils were reaching expected standards than ever before.

But he admitted: “Norfolk’s schools have come from a low starting base.

“While any improvement is welcome, it needs to be accelerated because we expect the county’s pupils to close the gap on their peers nationally, so that they are all achieving their potential in the years to come.

“We remain ambitious for Norfolk’s children and will continue to focus on relentlessly challenging and supporting schools to improve, beginning in the first week of the new term and continuing with the same impetus throughout the new academic year.

“This means working with schools and academies that have not achieved the improvements predicted so that they we can support them to focus on the right priorities for their pupils.”

The authority also pointed out that pupils’ performances in reading and maths were improving faster in Norfolk than the national average.

There was also a faster rate of improvement in performances for boys in the county than seen across the country.