£600,000 to help failing schools

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MORE than £600,000 could be set aside to support the growing number of Lincolnshire schools expected to be classed as “failing” in the next year.

Lincolnshire County Council has warned that many schools face a hard time as new Government legislation comes into effect in September.

It is feared it could result in more than 30 primary schools being placed in an Ofsted “category” requiring it to improve.

A report to the council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on Friday says: “We are already beginning to see how the pressures of meeting higher standards, with the real consequence of being forced to become a sponsored academy if there is a failure to do so, are manifesting themselves.

“There has been a marked increase in the number of primary exclusions since September 2011 compared to previous years.

“There is also a growing number of headteachers who are suffering under the pressure and are either taking early retirement or are absent with stress-related illness.”

Pupils’ achievements in English and maths show it is the smaller rural schools, with less than 90 students on roll, who are struggling most.

The report says: “As we take on board the coalition government agenda it is clear our priorities may well be harder to achieve and the quality of school leadership will be vitally important if schools are to be successful in meeting the challenges that they are facing.”

Committee members will be asked to consider a number of strategies to help struggling schools, including an “expert inspector” hotdesk to answer questions and offer support and new checks on quality of teaching.

They will be told that a sum of £600,000 is the minimum required to set up a new intervention fund.