Inspectors praise Tory trailblazer

19th May 2000 at 01:00
Two education authorities, both under 10 years old, have been applauded by OFSTED. Warwick Mansell and Clare Dean report

YORK appears well on the way to achieving its ambition to be a world-class city, if its inspection report is anything to go by, writes Clare Dean.

According to the Office for Standards in Education it is a well-run authority, highly regarded by schools with well-

informed councillors and good officials.

It has been unusually successful in building partnerships, notably with the private and voluntary sectors, and in securing extra money from both the Government and charitable foundations.

Highlighted by inspectors is a project called Schools Learning Together, with pound;650,000 funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and pound;250,000 from the Government's specialist schools programme.

National test, GCSE, and A-level results are consistently above the national average and attendance at primaries and secondaries is high.

Inspectors list 17 strengths and just two weak areas. They say the authority, created just four years ago, has "made, under dnamic leadership, a very good start".

York serves a relatively advantaged area, and has one nursery school, 60 primaries, 12 special schools, three special units and a pupil referral unit.

Entitlement to free school meals is lower than the national average as is the percentage of ethnic- minority pupils. The proportion of children with special needs is close to the national figure (3 per cent).

The authority has one of the lowest standard spending assessments for education - pound;2,414 per pupil compared to the national average of pound;2,658 and a unitary average of pound;2,610.

But the Labour-run council spends above its standard spending assessment and delegates more of the individual school budget than similar authorities.

YORK

Strengths

support for governors

measures to combat social exclusion

consultation with schools

allocation of resources behaviour support for schools

human resources

Weaknesses

strategic planning for special needs

support for information and communication technology

www.ofsted.gov.ukpubslea.htm


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