New authority offers sound leadership

19th January 2001 at 00:00
HEREFORDSHIRE has the overwhelming support of its schools, inspectors say.

The authority, created three years ago, provides sound leadership and mainly good services.

But inspectors found procedures for spotting schools in trouble and combating racism could be improved. Standards in the 99 schools were higher than the national average at all stages. More than 80 per cent of primaries and three-quarters of secondaries were good or very good.

Funding and identifying priorities were LEA strengths, with the hung council passing on extra cash to schools while other council spending was cut. Early-years provision was especially well funded.

Delegation to schools was lower than in other authorities because of the cost of ferrying children to school in the second most sparsely populated county in England.

There is a large traveller cmmunity with children attending 40 schools in the area. Provision for these pupils was praised but improvements could be made in monitoring the progress of pupils from other ethnic minorities, the report said.

Mike Tomlinson, chief inspector of schools, said: "Herefordshire is making good progress and has won the confidence of its schools in its drive to raise standards."

Julie Henry

HEREFORDSHIRE

STRENGTHS

* support for literacy and numeracy

* support for school improvement

* asset management

* admissions

* support for attendance and behaviour

* best value structures

* provision for looked-after children

WEAKNESSES

* special educational needs strategy

* support for information and communication technology

* identification and intervention in schools causing concern


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