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New education challenge board starts work in Stoke-on-Trent

Published: Monday, 27th September 2021

New education challenge board starts work in Stoke-on-Trent

A new and innovative education challenge board which brings together Stoke-on-Trent City Council leaders, the Department of Education, local academies, Ofsted and the regional schools commissioner will today (September, 27) have its inaugural meeting.

The board has been introduced by the city council and its key partners as a new way to help improve educational outcomes in the city. It will be chaired by Sir Mark Grundy, a highly respected educational leader.

Working collaboratively, the board will provide oversight for educational performance in the city, helping schools to succeed through the best possible teaching and leadership. The work will draw on the expertise of the most successful trusts already operating within Stoke-on-Trent, as well as drawing in external skills and capacity. 

The board will work with schools to understand their needs, based on systematic analysis, and will then broker targeted assistance.

The Board has been initiated by the city council as part of their Improving Education Strategy and links directly with the city’s Powering Up agenda that looks at how Stoke-on-Trent can level up to help children be the best they can be with education and skills at the heart of this agenda.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for the economy and education, said: “We are committed to driving up education standards across the city. That is why we have reached out to partners to create this innovative Educational Challenge Board. It will allow us to ensure transparency in how our schools are doing, and to identify early on the need for targeted support and intervention. Together we will act as the champion of pupils and families, particularly our most vulnerable. Our thanks go to Sir Mark Grundy, the Department for Education Ministers, the Regional Schools Commissioner and all the other members of the board for their help and involvement in this initiative.”

Chair of the board, Sir Mark Grundy, CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust said: “I am very pleased to have been asked by the Department of Education to support the city of Stoke-on-Trent in the next stage of their school improvement journey. The Opportunity Area has clearly created a momentum that needs to be built upon and I am looking forward to helping Stoke schools as they push on to improve their provision across the city.”

Baroness Barran said: “I am pleased to see experts from a number of organisations working together to improve the educational outcomes for children and young people in Stoke-on-Trent. I am looking forward to seeing the progress made during your improvement journey.”

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for the economy and education, continues: “We want to create a culture of excellence in education. As a city we need all our schools striving to be outstanding, because our children and young people deserve the best education whichever school they attend. It is now a year since we published our Room to Grow Children and Young People's Strategy 2020-2024 which sets out the vision for the city on how we will work together as partners to support our children and young people to thrive and be the most that they can be. We want all young people in the city to have the best possible start in life, the best education and the best life chances. Children and young people are our number one priority and we need every adult in the city to care passionately and express that through relationships, community and business life.”