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Bradford – “How can we recruit and retain high quality staff in Bradford?” Is the topic of the next Public Forum for Education. 

Speakers at the event will focus on three important areas:

  • How do we support and develop individuals and, in so doing, increase quality across the District?
  • Bradford’s outstanding colleagues are in demand elsewhere. How do we retain the services of the best?
  • Outstanding leaders and colleagues create outstanding schools. How do we attract more outstanding leaders to Bradford?

The forum takes place on Wednesday, 25 March from 4.30pm to 6.30pm in the Banqueting Hall at City Hall, Bradford BD1 1HY.

Everyone is welcome to attend. We welcome parents and young people, and would also particularly welcome teachers who have experience of retaining and developing newly qualified staff to come along and share their views.

The forum holds “big conversations” throughout the year on topical issues in education. Forms consist of expert speakers and the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss the issues they raise.

The forum is independently chaired by former Bradford headteacher Michael Latham.

Sara Rawnsley, Recruitment and Retention Strategy Manager, who will be leading part of the evening, said: “This Forum is part of a wider initiative which will see schools working in partnership so that we can share information about how we recruit the best teachers we can.”

Cllr Ralph Berry
Cllr Ralph Berry

Michael Jameson, Strategic Director of Children’s Services, said: “We have some fantastic leaders and teachers in Bradford but every school is keen to recruit the best talent available. This PFE will look at ways in which we can share what works well and the steps we can take to make sure schools in Bradford get the very best new staff we can.”

Cllr Ralph Berry, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, said: “Bradford is a great place to live and work and there are some outstanding educational projects and initiatives taking place. This is great for schools and pupils, but can also be a fantastic way for teachers to build their careers. We need to get that message across.”

If you are interested in attending, please email Public.Forum.for.Education@bradford.gov.uk or telephone Heidi Hardy on (01274) 434335

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Bradford – St Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre is celebrating its third successive outstanding judgement following its recent Ofsted inspection. 

Timberplay_St_Edmunds_Nursery_School_1The inspectors open the glowing report, which is judged outstanding in every category, saying:  “The exceptional executive headteacher continues to effectively lead the team in their aspirational goal of ‘nothing but the best will do for the children, families and staff’.”

Executive Headteacher, Anne-Marie Merifield, has been at the helm since the first outstanding judgement was given in December 2008, then again in November 2011 and for this recent inspection.  Ofsted inspections of St Edmund’s Children Centre (November 2011) and Childcare (January 2014) judged both to be outstanding in all areas. Anne-Marie is Executive Head at Lilycroft Nursery School, also outstanding.

Anne-Marie said:  “The whole staff team is dedicated and committed to providing the best possible start for all our children and families;  we also have a commitment to Bradford as a whole, which is reflected in our wider remit as a Teaching School and in the training of new teachers”.

The inspectors further comment:

  • Partnerships with parents are outstanding.
  • The highly skilled and knowledgeable governors know the school extremely well and rigorously check the work of the nursery, challenging it to make sure it remains outstanding.
  • Thoughtfully planned activities mean each child learns to the best of their ability.
  • The behaviour of pupils is outstanding. Their confidence and their self-esteem are raised because they know that they are valued as individuals and because they are made to feel unique.
  • Children with physical difficulties show remarkable perseverance and determination. Their huge levels of enjoyment and their pride in their achievements are clearly evident in their reactions.
ralph-berry
Cllr Ralph Berry

Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s Strategic Director for Children’s Services, said:  “This is fantastic news for St Edmund’s and for the district; yet another great example of the dedicated staff, governors and pupils who all contribute to make school life and learning so beneficial.  Well done to all those who have worked so hard to achieve this accolade for the third consecutive time.”

Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:  “This is an amazing report and highlights the wealth of good practice and expertise which is benefitting all those who attend St Edmund’s, be it in the Children’s Centre or in the Nursery School.  Staff, pupils, parents, governors and all those who have worked so hard to bring about this positive achievement should be justly very proud.”

St Edmund’s Nursery School is a National Teaching School. Teaching schools are outstanding schools who are asked by the Department for Education to work with other schools to:

  • Train people who are wanting to become teachers
  • Provide support for teachers wanting to improve their classroom practice
  • Give support to aspiring or new headteachers
  • Lead research programmes in effective teaching strategies
  • Improve standards in schools in areas such as examination results and Ofsted judgement
  • St Edmund’s leads the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance. This comprises 70 nursery, primary, special and secondary schools and academies from across the district. The Alliance is committed to raising standards for all Bradford’s pupils.

Since 2013, St Edmund’s and its alliance has:

  • Worked with 15 schools to help them improve
  • Worked with 4 universities in research, including investigating new approaches to improving the teaching of maths, English and Early Years
  • Recruited 18 Specialist Leaders of Education – teachers with special subject expertise who are now working across the district
  • Brought in around £200,000 of additional grants for Bradford schools
  • Run conferences for teachers from across the north of England
  • Trained 100 new teachers, many of whom will be working in Bradford schools

St Edmund’s has recently been designated as a School Centre for Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) by the Department of Education. It is one of the largest SCITTs in England training over 125 graduates each year. These trainee teachers will be based in Alliance schools, ‘learning on the job’ from some of the best teachers in Bradford as they work towards becoming primary and early years teachers.

Christian Bunting, Head of Teaching School at St Edmund’s said: “By listening to and observing great teachers and by spending a full year in a school, we know that we are training teachers who’ll be ready to make a real difference to Bradford Schools. They will be ready for the challenge of teaching and equipped with the skills to become outstanding career teachers.”

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Blakehill Primary School is celebrating being judged as good for the second time following its latest Ofsted inspection.

In a very complimentary report the inspectors commented on how the ‘school is improving’ and also the ‘good progress because teaching is good’.

2383406_df57e45eThe inspectors found that a key strength of the school was its behaviour of pupils and there were outstanding examples of this.

When talking of Leadership and Management, the inspectors said:  “The headteacher and assistant headteachers have a clear vision for the school to provide the best possible education.  They consistently share their high expectations with all staff, pupils and governors.”

The report also says:  “This is a happy school, which is held in very high regard by pupils and their parents, staff, the local community and the local authority.”

ralph-berry
Cllr Ralph Berry

Trevor Patterson, Headteacher, said:  “We are delighted with this report which sees us sustain our good judgement since the last inspection in 2010.

“The report confirms how we see the school and reflects the hard work of pupils, staff, governors, parents and the local community.”

Coun Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:  “This is an excellent result for Blakehill and all those who have worked so hard to bring about this positive outcome should be justly very proud.”

An education question time this Friday organised by the National Union of Teachers has refused to allow George Galloway on the platform, although two other MPs have been invited.

Gallowaynew“What are they afraid of?” asked Galloway. “I have been a trenchant critic of the education establishment in Bradford for three years, no one has campaigned more for change and improvement – perhaps that’s it?”

The event is being held at the Bradford Technical college on Friday, from 5pm to 7pm. The speakers are Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford’s education chief, Kevin Courtney of the NUT, LibDem MP David Ward and Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley.

“Not only was I not invited,” Galloway continued, “I haven’t even been told why not, despite requests going back more than three weeks. The organisers haven’t even been polite enough to respond. Obviously it’s not only standards lacking in our schools, but manners.”

He added: “I’ve supported the NUT in parliament and beyond, unlike the two MPs on the platform. This is clearly planned as a cosy get-together where the shocking and alarming truth about the state of our schools isn’t going to be addressed. I am deeply disappointed, not for me but for the parents and school-age children of Bradford.”

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UKIP’s Bradford Chairman Jason Smith called for the resignation of Cllr Ralph Berry yesterday after claiming a ‘failing education policy and the continuing decline of Bradford’s education.’

UKIP further stated, “We call upon Cllr Ralph Berry to resign his portfolio and hand over to someone who is prepared to intervene more often, be more challenging of schools, and less accepting of excuses for underperformance.”

ralph-berry
Cllr Ralph Berry

Upon contacting Mr Berry, he has rebuffed the criticism from UKIP and referred to a recent report commissioned by the local authority by education expert Professor David Woods. The report was fully discussed at the Councils scrutiny committee meeting and at a meeting attended by 80% of Bradford Head teachers, after visits to London schools, and evaluation of London challenge and Manchester Challenge.

Speaking to Urban Echo, Mr Berry states, “No mention has been made of the huge cuts to local authority funding and the limited intervention powers we have , but another right wing party promoting forced Academisation will only further alienate Schools and teachers and a time when many of those once vaunted academies are themselves also ‘in need of improvement’.

“Bradford is pressing for a ‘Yorkshire challenge’ to secure transformation that was delivered for London children, building on the good and outstanding locals schools who we now expect to support other local schools just as we have seen at Kings.”

Miriam Lord
Miriam Lord

A Yorkshire wide summit is taking place in Leeds in March to discuss this. Other outstanding and improved schools such as Miriam Lord are now working with other local schools to share good practice.

Asked whether he was going to stand down, Mr Berry said: “Of course I’m not going to stand down. The Woods report came about because of concerns I had raised and I am determined to make sure its recommendations are all implemented.

“UKIP have made no mention of their plan to force new grammar schools on the city, which would be a disaster, and their report is riddled with inaccuracies. Another right wing plan to impose Academisation on schools is not new ideas and certainly not proven.

“UKIP also oppose a key element of our Safeguarding Children by seeking to ban PSHE is schools, just as we roll out a widely praised safeguarding programme to all Bradford Schools .

“To turn things around, requires a range of partners with a common objective. UKIP fail to recognise that schools have a level of autonomy and 60 of the schools in the district are accountable directly top Whitehall as academies or Free Schools.

“Singling the success of schools down to one person is ridiculous. I have never said schools are where we want them to be, as a parent with children in the local system I am committed to that. Change and challenge, to work it needs everyone to play their part, including free school and academies.”

 

 

 

Speaking at UKIP’s Bradford election launch, Chairman Jason Smith called for Bradford’s education chief to resign due to his failing education policy and the continuing decline of Bradford’s education. 

UKIP Bradford today released its own Bradford Education Review.  The UKIP report highlighted the below failures of Bradford’s education policy:

  • Failed to establish a clear Pupil Premium strategy, failing the poorest and most vulnerable children in Bradford.
  • More schools in the worst category needing support this year than last year.
  • Failed to organise an effective committee to drive forward recommendation
  • Failed to clearly identify local leaders of education in Bradford Schools.
  • Failed to clearly identify evidence based research based on ‘what works’
  • Lacked the drive to intervene in failing schools quickly enough
  • Blamed the government for changes of league tables, when other local authorities in similar circumstances have improved

On the Education Improvement Strategic Board UKIP’s report states ‘There are so many voices on the panel that effective strategies aren’t being brought in for discussion’ and

Cllr Ralph Berry
Cllr Ralph Berry

‘The body is too big, too slow and ineffective at meeting its statutory challenges’, it suggests also that ‘there is no strategy for the spending of the Pupil Premium’.

UKIP Bradford disagrees with Professor Woods Education Report however (Page 5) in that the panel should be independently chaired. They say the portfolio holder should be the chair and be accountable through the scrutiny committee for the performance of the Education Improvement Strategic Board.  UKIP states ‘it is not acceptable for Bradford to retain the local authority function, but be able to palm off such a key responsible post to someone who the parents of children in Bradford cannot remove through the ballot box’.

UKIP reports goes on to suggest: ‘The local authority should not just review itself with the schools within the authority, but also schools in similar challenging circumstances’.

Jason Smith, UKIP
Jason Smith, UKIP

Bradford Chairman Jason Smith says “Education chief Ralph Berry has overseen one disaster after another in Bradford education, from the damning Education Report that he refused to release to the people of Bradford, to the revelations that Bradford’s schools and GCSE results are near the bottom of national leagues tables.

The final straw was the information we have received that confirms that progress made at secondary school for disadvantaged pupils has dropped dramatically.

We therefore call upon Cllr Ralph Berry to resign his portfolio and hand over to someone who is prepared to intervene more often, be more challenging of schools, and less accepting of excuses for underperformance.”

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Following news that Bradford has the second-worst GCSE results in the country George Galloway has called for a wide-ranging inquiry into the comprehensive education failures in the city and dropped plans to hold his own meeting.

0613ef35-0c2c-3e34-a1c5-3f67ac604424“Education in Bradford isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse, and that’s barely possible, it’s scandalous and it certainly can’t be allowed to go on. The people responsible have to be held to account,” the Bradford West MP said. “Accordingly I am postponing my scheduled meeting, the Bradford Challenge, tomorrow evening. Neither the man at the top of the education tree, Ralph Berry, or representatives of the National Union of Teachers were coming and there’s no point in preaching to the choir.

“We need a meeting where Councillor Berry and the heads of education are there, teachers and their representatives, all the local MPs – and most importantly the parents whose children are being failed. The council chamber, St George’s Hall, anywhere suitable but that has to happen. There can be no hiding now. This is another shaming result for Bradford and its governance and a terrible blow for hundreds of kids’ life chances. And if those in charge of education refuse then they have to go. We cannot tolerate failing our children any more.”

images9OUWUYESHe pointed out that, apart from the ‘deplorable’ GCSE results, in the latest Ofsted findings Bradford came seventh bottom for secondary schools and for children’s achievements leaving primary schools it was among the worst.

Galloway said that he intended to meet with other Bradford MPs in the House of Commons and then make a joint approach to the education secretary Nicky Morgan to demand special measures for Bradford’s schools. “I don’t resile from my belief that the city needs special help, a Bradford Challenge, on the lines of the London one, with resources and expertise poured in,” he said.

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