Urban Echo News 

Bradford ‘can be at forefront of drive to raise school standards in the North of England’

Bradford could be at the centre of new projects to improve school performance in the North, according to the author of the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy.

Sir Nick Weller, who is the chief executive of Bradford-based Dixons Academies Trust, was commissioned by the Government to produce a report into how school standards in the North of England can be improved.

He will be giving a speech about his plans at Bradford’s next Public Forum for Education on March 15.

His report, published late last year, made a series of recommendations including the suggestion that a scheme to attract and retain talented teachers is piloted in the North.

Since then Bradford has been chosen by the Government to be an Opportunity Area which will see the district be given extra money to promote social mobility through schools.  Sir Nick said he hoped this could be used to implement some of the recommendations in his report.

He said: “The recent announcement that Bradford is to be an Opportunity Area will bring very welcome additional funding to the district which could be used  to help fund some of the recommendations in the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy particularly around teacher recruitment and raising standards.”

Other recommendations in his report include cities in the North taking the lead on regional marketing initiatives to attract teachers to work and live in the North. He also called on the Department for Education to bring together schools with a track record of improving the performance of disadvantaged pupils to report on what works most effectively.

The title of the next Public Forum for Education is Improving Attainment in Bradford.

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford’ Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “This meeting will be the first time Sir Nick has talked about the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy in Bradford.

“Last month we got the welcome news that Bradford has been chosen by the Government to be an Opportunity Area which will mean additional funding for the district.

“We are already leading the way with our work to recruit teachers and we want to ensure that the district is at the forefront of any drive to raise standards in the North. Next month’s event is a great opportunity for people in education and the wider public to hear about the council’s plans for raising standards in our schools.”

At the Public Forum for Education Judith Kirk, Bradford Council’s Deputy Director for Education, Employment and Skills will present the council’s response to Sir Nick’s report and will talk about the local authority’s role in raising standards.

Speakers will also include Sara Rawnsley, Bradford Council’s Recruitment and Retention Manager who will give an update on the work the authority has done to attract and keep teachers in the district.

This includes running the Bradford bus tours in which teaching students are taken around schools in the district to see what life is like in Bradford schools and the creation of a talent bank in which candidates apply to join a pool of newly qualified teachers who are then matched with schools which have vacancies they can apply for.

The Public Forum for Education is held throughout the year chaired by Michael Latham – a former Bradford Headteacher.

It aims to allow everyone with an interest in education in the district to contribute their views.

It will take place on March 15 in the Hockney Conference Room,  Margaret McMillan Tower, Princes Way, Bradford BD1 1NN from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

To book a place either email: Public.Forum.for.Education@bradford.gov.uk or contact Heidi Hardy on (01274) 434335.

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