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Ofsted orders 'ineffective' local authority to intervene in failing schools

Ofsted has hit out at the “ineffective” support for schools provided by Doncaster Council and called on the the authority to "intervene in failing schools" by replacing staff and governors.

The watchdog, which sent in an inspection team because more than half of pupils in the borough attend a school that is rated as inadequate or requiring improvement, said that there was a “pressing need” for the council to improve its performance, particularly its “not fit for purpose” monitoring system.

Doncaster is in the bottom fifth of English authorities for the exam results of its primary and secondary pupils.

The authority’s school improvement service “does not keep formal records of how well governors are managing and supporting schools”, a report published today finds, adding that it “does not use its powers to intervene in failing schools in a consistent way”.

The council has been ordered to “intervene early when schools show signs of failing their pupils by, for example, replacing senior staff and governors”, and should “promptly” notify the Department for Education about underperformance at academies in the town," the report adds.

“A local authority needs to have a grip on data about how its pupils are doing,” said Nick Hudson, Ofsted director for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber region. “That Doncaster’s systems for analysing school data are not fit for purpose is a matter for concern.

“Pupils in Doncaster do not get a good deal compared to other children and young people elsewhere in the region or in England. More than half of pupils in Doncaster are in schools that are either inadequate or require improvement. They and their parents deserve better.”

The council will be reinspected within the next 12 months.

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