Letters extra: No quick fix for inner city school decay

13th June 2003 at 01:00

A more thorough reading of the Ofsted report on Education Action Zones and Excellence in Cities ( TES , 6 June) shows that their positive impact outweighs any lack of success and that the term 'fail' is inappropriate.

Cultural and organisational change in the education system, particularly within the dynamics of the urban context, will never be a quick fix and needs sustained effort to mature into results. Just as the Government's National Strategies took root in relatively fertile ground in the Primary sector but found more barriers and complexity in Secondary schools, so it is with the work of EAZs and EiC.

Significant progress is being made, and when the whole story of EAZs is told, including the Round 2 Zones not featured in the Ofsted report, there will be a wealth of effective and excellent practice to inform the future pursuit of high standards in city areas. Given more time, some EAZs could have achieved the step change in attainment in inner city areas for which we all strive. Instant success is a poor measure of the impact of initiatives designed to tackle decades and generations of cyclical decline.

Steve Edwards OBE
Director, East Manchester Education Action Zone

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