Isle of Wight

13th October 2000 at 01:00
This week's crop of reports about council's education services shows good results alone are not enough to please OFSTED

THE Isle of Wight's education authority provides schools with effective support and has more strengths than weaknesses, inspectors have found, writes Sarah Cassidy.

The Office for Standards in Education said that the authority was aware of its weaknesses and had, for the most part, developed promising strategies for improvement.

Officers had won the trust and goodwill of schools and, with more support from councillors, would be capable of resolving any problems.

The small size of the island and easy access to officers allowed schools to receive a rapid and effective service, inspectors said.

But the physical separation of the island, coupled with costly ferry crossings, created a sense of isolation which had affected teaching standards and morale.

Coupled with a high degree o stability of staffing, this had contributed to complacency and low expectations in some schools which was proving difficult to shift, inspectors noted.

The authority was starting to challenge pupil underachievement more vigorously and officers were now keen to intervene in schools before problems became critical.

However, councillors were not involved early enough in the decision-making process and in monitoring of spending.

Strengths

support for weak schools

training in the analysis and use of performance data

support for heads

monitoring of schools

numeracy and literacy support

management of school places and asset management planning

admissions

personnel, premises and

financial services for schools

Weaknesses

corporate and strategic

planning

support for some key aspects of special needs

provision of education outside school


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