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Are school improvement officers now just education folklore?

Once upon a time, thousands of local authority school improvement officers roamed the land, giving vital support and guidance to help raise standards. Now heads in many areas are lucky if they can find one. John Roberts investigates how the headlong rush towards academisation has left maintained schools at a serious disadvantage

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They are the experts who thousands of schools should be able to turn to for support on teaching and learning, staffing and behaviour.

And they are the public servants with the crucial role of ensuring that the majority of England’s state school system is performing to the highest possible standards.

But a Tes investigation reveals that the country’s all-important army of local authority school improvement officers is fast vanishing, leaving increasing numbers of heads with no one to turn to.

The findings suggest that three-fifths of these jobs across the country have gone in just six years. ...

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