THE picture which emerges from your article on Reading's Office for Standards in Education report is one which few who know the present-day town will recognise. Contrary to the impression conveyed by the article, the inspectors' report highlights the authority's strengths, as summarised in OFSTED's press release, "Reading LEA has a clear commitment to raising standards."
Rightly, inspectors reflected the concern expressed to them by many of schools during the inspection (not all 55 as your headline claims) about the impact which recruitment difficulties can have on achieving the significant progress to which both schools and the authority are committed.
Reading is a thriving community with many attractions - the Oracle shopping centre, the Hexagon and the new concert hll, easy links to the M4, the university, to mention a few - the downside of this is that house prices are high which creates problems for those in vital public services such as education.
We, with schools, are developing a variety of approaches to help overcome this barrier to teaching in Reading. These include local initiatives, a successful bid to the Teacher Training Agency for our recruitment strategy, as well as leading a local consortium under the Government's key-worker housing initiative. Our evidence is that the opportunity to work in a prosperous, if challenging, urban environment, with a supportive LEA, is one which many talented teachers find attractive.
Director of education and community services
Reading Borough Council