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York's Schools Working Together To Raise Standards


7:30am 28th November 2013

Schools in York will be brought together to compete on who can deliver the highest standards. Heads and schools will work together to share what works in their schools and help others to improve. Education bosses hope it'll help all schools in the city get a good rating by inspectors.

York Challenge aims to empower the city’s schools to achieve excellence in four key areas: leadership, curriculum, teaching and ‘narrowing the gap’ to accelerate the progress of under achieving children. Focusing on partnership working, schools will work in geographical groups – school improvement clusters - with the emphasis on ensuring that all schools become good and outstanding through working on improvement priorities as a cluster.

Councillor Janet Looker, Cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People, City of York Council, said: “Our aim is to make York the best place in the country for children and young people to grow up and having access to the highest quality education will play a key part in helping achieve this vision. York’s schools already provide a great education and we know that each has its own strengths and weaknesses. We hope that the York Challenge will enable schools to share their expertise more readily, ensuring that all young people across the city have access to excellent education.”

Maxine Squire, Interim Assistant Director, Education and Skills, City of York Council, said: “Working in partnership, offering appropriate support and challenge have long been key components of our work with schools. The concept of the York Challenge is to empower schools to support and challenge each other, helping all of our schools achieve and sustain excellence.”

Anna Cornhill, headteacher of Scarcroft Primary School, "Many York Headteachers have already been working in local clusters in order to share good practice between schools. This new way of working, set out in the York Challenge, will ensure that every York school becomes part of an active cluster, which can only be to the benefit of all the pupils across the city.

“The new initiative will provide clusters of schools with a clear structure that can be adapted to meet the needs of the schools involved, in order to facilitate Headteachers and schools working more closely together on a shared school improvement agenda."

Caroline Hancy, headteacher of Dunnington School, said: “Many clusters of school leadership teams are developing an increased sense of collective responsibility and are working proactively to improve outcomes for young people within, and beyond, their own schools.

“The York Challenge is an exciting opportunity for teaching staff to become more engaged in partnership working and to learn from each other in order to maximise pupil progress across the city.”

The council’s education chiefs hope that the initiative will ensure that all York schools achieve at least a ‘good’ Ofsted rating, with an increasing proportion rated as ‘Outstanding’.

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