Author Archives: Ashley Pearce

A World Without Ofsted

I listen the TES podcast every week and this one really struck a chord with me, entitled “A World without Ofsted”.
(https://www.tes.com/news/tes-fe-podcast-world-without-ofsted). I then saw the Get Reading headline “See how many Reading Schools are performing badly” and couldn’t help but equate the two.

Firstly, this is not to say we are complacent and that the Council, Brighter Futures for Children and all of Reading’s Schools do not seek improvement and realise that in some areas and some schools we need to do better. We have an education strategy launched last month alongside an SEN strategy that seeks improvement in our Schools.

Schools and teachers are quite possibly the most judged places and professions on earth. There is so much data to weigh up and compare. Base lines, SAT tests, GCSE progress 8, A level results and of course Ofsted. I teach at a School whose GCSE results and A-Level results in both attainment and progress have been in the top 5% of the country for the last couple of years and we received an Ofsted in that time. Not many schools get those recently so must have been an Outstanding judgement right? No. A Good due to an anomaly really, despite far better results on any measure compared to many other Schools with an Outstanding rating.

And that’s just one of the problems with Oftsed. Things they don’t really consider: numbers of SEN students. Many of these will make progress at different rates in their own way but Ofsted seem not to care. Exclusions. What if one school gets good results and outcomes but excludes many students that other local schools pick up? Not Ofsteds problem. Starting points, what if students have made great progress from their starting points but still don’t make Ofsteds floor standards? Still “failing” then. Funding. Not a mention in any Ofsted report I have ever read that funding per pupil has fallen 8% since 2010 or SEN funding by 16%. No mention of crowd funding or donations being sought from parents just to keep schools ruining. It’s almost as if Oftsed is an arm of Government and that criticism wouldn’t go down well? Deprivation. Ofsted does not mention or care about the area in which a School resides. Glasgow has a life expectancy about 15 years lower than Kensington, do we blame GP’s for this? No, but with Schools apparently there is no other contributing factor to educational outcomes than a School and its staff.

And then what? Ofsted give its “failing” rating and then provide on going support, expertise, finance and guidance. Well no. They say they will be back to judge again in a year and if an academy put you in contact with the hugely over stretched regional schools commissioner. The success of schools can be judged in many ways, and a good school may show it in many different ways. The best way to see and get a feel for a School as a prospective parent is to always pay a visit. Since becoming lead Councillor for education last summer I’ve visited nearly 40 of Readings schools that have obtained all Oftsed gradings. Each different, each working incredibly hard on diminished budgets and each deserving of greater credit that a two word Oftsed rating. It’s time to look beyond an outdated inspection regime.

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Reading Labour Councillors demand a halt to school cuts

Locally-elected council members from across the country have backed the campaign by the NEU’s Councillors Network, which is supported by education fair funding campaign group f40, in expressing concern about the desperate state of school funding in England and Wales.

They are urging Government to invest more money in schools in the Spending Review this year to help meet the huge funding crisis across education, which is resulting in growing budget deficits, cuts in teaching staff, a reduction in some subject areas, and a poorer education for children.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (2) states that schools have suffered a cut of 8 per cent per pupil since 2010. The Education Policy Institute (3) has said almost a third of all council-run secondary schools are now in deficit and, according to last year’s Kreston UK report (4), eight in ten academies are in deficit.

Campaign group f40, which started more than 20 years ago with the aim of influencing significant change in the way government allocated funding to local authorities and schools, threw its weight behind the NEU’s letter to Damian Hinds.

Cllr Ashley Pearce, lead member for Education said: “This situation cannot go on. Schools and colleges in Reading desperately need additional funding to ensure our children and young people get the education they deserve. Reading schools, have on average, lost £370 per pupil between 2015 and 2019 alone. There needs to be a reversal of cuts to school budgets since 2010, and for the funding of schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision to be of a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live.” The full letter can be read below.

Dear Damian Hinds MP,

As councillors, we are writing to express our grave concerns over the Government’s ongoing cuts to school funding.

Our excellent state-funded schools have lost out in billions of pounds in funding since 2015. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has equated this to an 8 per cent real cut per pupil in real terms, since 2010. The funding crisis has become so overwhelming that according to the Education Policy Institute, almost a third of all council-run secondary schools are now in deficit, and eight in ten academies are in deficit according to last year’s Kreston UK report.

Many schools are now desperately overwhelmed, as more and more students are competing for fewer and fewer resources. Compounded by biting cuts to local council services, in addition to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, the current settlement is not tenable.
We demand that the Government address this funding crisis in its Spending Review by:
• Reversing the cuts to school funding since 2010.
• Giving our schools the funding they need.
• Funding Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision properly.

Our children only have one chance to go through the school system. By cutting funding to schools, the Government is failing them. It must change course urgently, and give our schools, education professionals and students the proper funding they need.

Your sincerely,

The Undersigned

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School parking ban

https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/should-schools-ban-parents-driving-16022926

Various schools from across the town have contacted us regarding issues with drop off and pick up congestion around their schools. However a full ban on cars and parking nearby schools may well create the unintended consequence of clogging up nearby roads as parents may well just park as near as they can. We are also aware that some parents and pupils live further away from their schools and that driving is the only suitable methods of transport.

In specific instances, parking measures such as double yellow lines or bollards to prevent pavement parking have been introduced for specific schools when the need has arisen. The Council already has a strategy to tackle air pollution as well as a campaign to stop cars idling. Each individual school also has its own transport plan that encourages pupils to walk or cycle to school wherever this is possible, which is of course also beneficial for pupils health. But if the need for greater action at any individual school is required, we would be happy to work with schools on this.

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April events

  • Councillor’s advice surgery: Church Ward Councillors will be available to discuss any issues with residents on Saturday 6th April at 10.30am-12pm at The Whitley Café.
  • Policy Committee meeting: Ashley will be present in his role as Lead member for education on Monday 8th April at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre. One of the items on the agenda is Brighter Futures for children, the Council’s new children’s company.
  • ACE committee meeting: Ashley and Ruth will be in attendance at the Adult, Children services and education committee meeting on Thursday 4th at 6.30pm at the Civic centre. The Council’s Special Educational Needs strategy and a Fair workload charter for teachers will be discussed by Ashley as lead member for education.
  • Visit to Blagdon nursery: Ashley will visit the Council maintained nursery to discuss funding and future plans with the Head on Wednesday 3rd April.
  • Newsletter delivery: The latest edition of the Church Ward Labour Rose newsletter will be delivered to every household across the Ward by our Councillors & volunteers across the month.
  • Canvassing– Councillors and activists will be out speaking to residents on Monday 8th on Foxhays Road (afternoon), Tuesday 9th on Linden Road (afternoon), Thursday 18th on Barnsdale Road (afternoon), Saturday 20th on Alandale and Wentworth (morning), Wednesday 24th on Hartland Road (evening), Saturday 27th on Winton Road & Brybur Close (morning) and Cressingham Road on Tuesday 30th (evening).
  • Ward walk: Councillors will spend the afternoon of Sunday 21st March walking all areas of the ward checking for fly tipping, parking issues and the general upkeep of the area. Please stop to speak to us if you see people wearing rosettes!
  • New Directions visit: Ashley will be visiting South Reading’s excellent adult education service to speak with staff and see it in action on Wednesday 24th April at 7pm.
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Reading to get new SEN School

Reading Council learned today that they have been successful in their bid, made jointly with West Berks and Wokingham Councils, for a new SEN free school that aims to open its doors in 2022.

The School will have a capacity for 150 students that will be shared amongst the 3 local authorities. The school will welcome students on the autistic spectrum as well as students with SEMH (social emotional and mental health) needs.

The exact location is to be confirmed but it is planned that the school will be in Reading of the 3 local authorities.

In terms of running the new school, an engagement event will be organised to provide information on bidding. Those trusts who wish to bid to run the school will be invited once the specification is complete. This will then likely involve interviews before the Regional Schools Commissioner selects the trust that will sponsor the school.

This new school forms part of our wider SEN strategy to provide more suitable spaces for Reading’s youngsters in Reading schools.

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More parents choose Reading Schools

Every Reading student has been allocated a secondary school place this year, despite higher pupil numbers than ever before.


This year, Reading schools have been more popular than ever, with a greater number of residents choosing schools in the Borough than schools outside it.
Reading Girls has increased in popularity this year and the WREN School, Highdown School and Maiden Erlegh, Reading all continue to be popular choices.

First preference offers stand at 64% this year, compared to 66% in 2018. The number of students not allocated any of their preferences decreased slightly from 12.58% last year to 12.28% this year.
On National Offer Day there were no surplus places in Reading schools this year, compared to 85 on offer day in 2018, 221 in 2017 and 274 in 2016.

A shortage of spaces and our statutory duty to provide every child who had an on-time application with a school place on National Offer Day meant we had to ask a number of schools to either to take an additional class or additional children per class.  

Extra classes have gone in at Highdown School, The Wren School and Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School. Maiden Erlegh in Reading has taken an additional 12 students.

The percentage of pupils allocated to schools outside Reading fell to 26.44% this year from as high as 34.78% in 2016.

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March events

  • Councillor’s advice surgery: Church Ward Councillors will be available to discuss any issues with residents on Saturday 2nd March at 10.30am-12pm at The Whitley Café.
  • Policy Committee meeting: Ashley will be present in his role as Lead member for education on Monday 11th March at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.
  • Full Council meeting: Church Ward Councillors will be in attendance at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 26th March at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.
  • Canvassing– Councillors and activists will be out speaking to residents on Saturday 23rd March at 11.30am on Whitley Wood Road.
  • WhitFest Showcase: A showcase of talent in Whitley as part of WhitFest will take place at the Whitley Cafe on Friday March 1st. More details can be found here: http://www.aspire2whitley.com
  • St.Patricks Hall appeal hearing: The appeal hearing in which Reading Borough Council and Councillors are fighting against Reading Universities aggressive expansion will begin on Tuesday 19th March at the town hall. Ashley will be speaking on behalf of residents.
  • Ward walk: Councillors will spend the afternoon of Sunday 24th March walking all areas of the ward checking for fly tipping, parking issues and the general upkeep of the area. Please stop to speak to us if you see people wearing rosettes!
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Spring newsletter

Labour Councillors and activists in Church Ward will be delivering the Church Ward Spring newsletter in February to keep residents up to date with the work Councillors are doing. A copy of the newsletter can be found below:

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Education Strategy for Reading

At this months ACE committee the Council and Brighter Futures for Children will be setting out our priorities for Education in Reading. The document will be a living document that will evolve and grow. The strategy has 7 main strands with our focus being on lowering the rate of exclusions, increasing capacity for our SEN students and closing the attainment gap with our pupils.

We have some excellent provision, great teachers, hard working staff and Governors across our schools in Reading, but we also realise there are areas we can improve. Resources are tight as budgets continue to be squeezed so we must focus our intervention and support to where the need is greatest. We must ensure provision and outcomes are more even so that ALL of our educators have the skills and capacity to learn from each other.

Our provision for SEN students will increase with 2 new ASC units in our Primary schools, a new ASC unit opening at Blessed Hugh Farringdon, the Avenue expanding, Phoenix college being relocated and a bid for a new SEND Free school. The aim of all of this is to increase expert capacity in Reading so students can be educated nearer to home.

Our exclusions are too high, and there is a big cross over with our disadvantaged and SEN students here. Schools cannot solve all of societies problems but we can do more to support schools and help them understand and work with these young people. Our trauma informed approach to managing behaviour has been discussed with schools and has been received well. We will be looking to extend practical use of this within our schools.

The strategy sets out a practical plan on what our education team will focus on, how we will achieve more for our students and how all of the organisations involved can work together to e sure our students get the start in life they deserve.

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Fair Workload Charter for Readings teachers

A new Fair Workload Charter for Readings teachers will be announced at the ACE committee meeting this month. The charter has been agreed with the Council, head teachers, and teachers unions as a blue print for teacher well being in Reading.

The charter will help both teachers and head teachers understand how to cut down workload to more manageable levels. It is workload over everything else that teachers cite as the main reason for leaving the profession, an issue becoming more and more important as the teacher shortage deepens. The charter contains practical examples and advice on how schools and teachers can cut down on workload in agreement with Ofsted and DFE guidelines. It also lets teachers know where to go and what they can do if their workload is getting too much.

This charter will form part of a wider package of measures that Brighter Futures for Children are currently working on to help with recruiting and retaining our teachers. Our teachers are probably under more strain that ever before, with dwindling resources, class sizes rising and demands increasing, we need to do all we can to let them know they are valued and supported.

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February Events

  • Councillor’s advice surgery: Church Ward Councillors will be available to discuss any issues with residents on Saturday 2nd February at 10.30am-12pm at The Whitley Café.
  • ACE committee meeting: Ashley and Ruth will be in attendance at the Adult, Children services and education committee meeting on Thursday 14th at 6.30pm at the Civic centre. The Council’s Education strategy and a Fair workload charter for teachers will be discussed by Ashley as lead member for education.
  • Full Council meeting: Church Ward Councillors will be in attendance at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 26th February at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.
  • Policy Committee meeting: Ashley will be present in his role as Lead member for education on Monday 18th February at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.
  • Surgery at Reading Girls School- Ashley will accompany Matt Rodda MP on Friday 1st February between 5-7pm at Reading Girls School to answer resident concerns.
  • Whitley Community Development Association AGM- Councillors will be in attendance to hear of the work of WCDA on Saturday 9th February at 12.30pm at the Whitley Cafe.
  • Canvassing– Councillors and activists will be out speaking to residents on Saturday 2nd February at 11.30am around Ashburton Road and Saturday 9th February at 11am on Elm Road.
  • Newsletter delivery: The latest edition of the Church Ward Labour Rose newsletter will be delivered to every household across the Ward by our Councillors & volunteers towards the end of the month.  
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Van tool theft should be a specific offence

Church Ward Councillors are backing a call from local trades people for action to stop tool theft from vans, which is an increasing problem. Theft from commercial vehicles has a huge impact on tradespeople and small businesses in Reading. Not only is there a high cost in time and money to replace tools and to fix the damage caused, it stops people being able to work, leading to loss of earnings and huge financial impacts.

A Home Office Research Study states that the average cost of theft from a commercial vehicle and contents compared to a domestic vehicle and contents is double. Despite this there is no separate crime theft from a commercial vehicle, creating a new offence of theft from a commercial vehicle could help to deter this crime. Local carpenters Micky Leng, Mark Russell and other trades people are campaigning for parliament to change the law to ensure that this carries a sentence which is proportionate to the cost which includes: replacements; repairing damage; business disruption; customer reimbursement and compensation. Micky Leng says “So many of us have had our vans broken into and it has a massive impact on our work.  There needs to be a stronger deterrent so people’s work isn’t affected. I hope everyone will sign our petition and get behind the campaign”.

Church Ward Councillor Paul Woodward added “With vehicle theft on the rise, it particularly affects van drivers – whether self employed or small businesses, I fully support the campaign and I’ll be working to help it succeed.

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Councillors call to fairly fund our Nursey Schools

The future of local Council run nursery schools in England is under threat after March 2020 as adequate funding from the Tory Government has not been confirmed. Church Ward Councillors are urging the Government to take action to ensure maintained nursery schools are financially sustainable into the future.  Nursery schools are vital for many children’s start in life and this uncertainty is putting their future in doubt. 
Labour believes all of our children deserve the best start in life and so our nurseries need to be adequately funded.

In South Reading we are proud of the work our nursery schools such as Blagdon, Little Owls and Geoffrey Field do with our youngsters but the job they do is becoming more difficult every day. Nurseries are facing budget cuts from Central Government of up to 17% and the number of places available has fallen as a consequence. If you want to help us let the Government know we want this to end, please sign the petition. 

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/237044
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Education wishlist from the Government for 2019

This is my personal wishlist as a teacher, Labour member and lead Councillor for Education for the Government to implement this year to help improve education in the UK.

  1. Fund schools properly (or at least tell the truth on the lack of funding). Our schools have seen per pupil funding cuts of 8% since the Tories took power. Education spending as a % of GDP has fallen substantially, class sizes have risen and sixth form funding in particular has taken a hit. Yet still the Government denies it. A Motion at Full Council from us in October to write to Education Secretary Damian Hinds was not supported by a Tory colleagues. The UK statistics authority repeatedly told off Ministers this year for being less than real with the truth. If they are not willing to spend more on our children’s future, at least say it and justify why.
  2. Pay teachers properly for their work. The school teachers review body recommended that ALL teachers should receive a 3.5% pay rise. Not just those starting out but those that are experienced and mid pay scale. It is these teachers that are mainly leaving the profession, those with a few years of experience and with time to seek a career change. The retention crisis will only worsen as teachers pay lags behind other graduate professions.
  3. Ofsted reform. Last year Ofsted said that there will be a new focus on curriculum and less on overall exam success. The new quality of education judgment will supposedly mean that so called exam factories won’t get an automatic outstanding judgment. I cautiously welcome these changes. But wait to see them happen. Schools in tough areas with a tough intake on the whole do such a good job for our disadvantaged youngsters. This doesn’t mean they can’t do more but it does mean schools can’t fix all of societies ills. When these schools are rewarded for their work we can start believing the rhetoric.
  4. SEN funding. There is undoubtedly a crisis in our education system for our youngsters with additional needs. Up to 4000 have no provision at all, demand is rising and needs are becoming more complex. This has seen tribunal appeals against councils rise and parent stress and anguish increase. High needs block spending (additional spending local authorities can transfer each year with schools approval to SEN funding) will soon no longer be able to be transferred from the main schools budgets. There is also an increasing number of SEN students going into private provision as the state is becoming less able to fund these places. A Tory ploy to privatise this part of education maybe?
  5. Trust teachers. A long term project this. Teachers in the UK are the most observed, have the heaviest workload, receive less pay and less appreciation than almost any other country in the world. Finland is often held up as a beacon of world education where teachers are given freedom, responsibility, flexibility and are treated with respect and professionalism. This should be our aim in the UK. It would help end the recruitment and retention crisis, provide a better environment for our children and ultimately better outcomes. Finland also has the lowest wage inequality in the EU whilst the UK’s is highest. Our education system won’t be able to sort all of societies problems but it can make a good start.
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St.Patrick’s Hall appeal submission

I have been a Councillor for Church Ward in which St.Patricks hall resides since 2014, so have had a lot of contact with residents, the Council, Matt Rodda MP, the University and UPP (the developers) for both the 2016 planning application and the 2018 application. This has taken the form of me being on the planning committee both times this went to committee, resident meetings as well as meetings with the University. This issue has also come up when speaking to residents on numerous occasions and is something many residents understandably feel very strongly about. I am also a former student and resident of the University, so understand its needs and want to see a strong, thriving University in Reading.


The original application gained a lot of publicity regarding the demolition of the historic Pearson’s Court site. This lead to lots of local (and some national) publicity, a petition that gained over 1000 signatures and eventually the local listing of the hall and the application being pulled by the University. This was the first time that it appeared the University (or more to the point UPP, whom they have commissioned out these services to) were in a rush to get the application through with little thought on the impact it would have on the local community.
I have had many discussions with local residents on the issue of the St.Pats hall expansion, not just the Northcourt Avenue residents association (NARA) but other residents of the street as well as other nearby streets such as Ennerdale Road, Stanhope Road and Weardale Close. Nearly every one of the residents I have spoken too are not against redeveloping this site. They realise the current facilities are tired and worn, and that students deserve better, more modern facilities. They also value the benefit of a thriving University, with many residents being ex or current employees of the University.


The main issues that have come up time and again are the lack of real engagement with the local public, that the current plans are an overdevelopment and that the planned building would be over bearing on the local streets. Resident meetings and exhibitions that the University have held, have taken the form of presenting a finished proposal. Any semblance of consultation has been lost on the residents. Changes that were made to the application were very minimal and never addressed residents overall concerns. This has always been the height and over bearing nature of the proposed site, and the large increase in the number of students in a predominantly residential area. The University and UPP would have gained public approval and support long ago, if only they had agreed that the height and storeys of these buildings were lower (4 storeys as on the other side of the University in Wokingham borough has been mentioned many times by residents) and that the number of students would be lower than the high figure sought. The residents have already been patient and supportive of the University in recent years, despite an increase in noise and sometimes anti-social behaviour, as well as huge strain being placed on local parking, to which the University have never attempted to come up with a credible plan to solve or even engage the issue. It has recently taken the University well over 6 months to respond calls from residents and Councillors for a public meeting regarding the behaviour of a minority of their students and the negative local impacts they are having. Sadly this is common in the Universities poor approach to engaging with the local community.

Lastly, whilst within the law, the application coming into the Council from the UPP rather than the University so as to swerve Community Infrastructure Levy payments was incredibly disappointing. This increase in student numbers will obviously put a great strain on local infrastructure and with Council budgets being so tight, this cannot be met by the Council. This may in some cases even lead to dangerous situations for students in terms of local road safety. Northcourt Avenue were the hall is located, runs parallel to Shinfield Road where the main Whiteknights entrance is. At the moment the nearest crossing is at a busy inter section of road and traffic lights near a parade of shops. This area is already a tricky intersection of road to navigate, and the huge increase in student numbers proposed will not help this. This will also cause pinch points at particular times of the day with schools and the hospital being close to this area. If the University wished to be a real contributing member of our community, it would be offering proposals to ensure the safety of its students and working with the local community and Council on this, not running away from their responsibilities. It sadly shows again that the University currently sees itself as separate to the local Council and community, rather than being an important partner alongside them.


The character and history of Northcourt Avenue is something the residents are rightly very proud of, and this includes the history and heritage of St.Patricks hall. The local listing of Pearson’s Court confirmed the special place it has in resident’s hearts. This planning application more than any other issue I have encountered since being on the Council, has fostered the most local concern. Not because the residents do not want development or a successful University but because they seek consideration from our University partners. The residents, Councillors and the Council would like to work with the University on an equal footing to come up with a suitable proposal that enables the University to grow and thrive, that protects the heritage of the local area, ensures safety and comfort for local infrastructure, and that is not over bearing for the rest of the local community. I do not believe the current proposals achieves these things but still believe if the University wanted too, that it could.

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January events

Councillor’s advice surgery: Church Ward Councillors will be available to discuss any issues with residents on Saturday 5th January at 10.30am-12pm at The Whitley Café.

Calendar delivery: Copies of the latest edition of our popular South Reading calendar, with events from January to June will be delivered to households across the Ward by our Councillors & volunteers at the start of the month. This can be viewed under the News section of this site.

Church Ward Labour party meeting: members of the local party will be meeting to discuss issues & campaigning on Monday 28th January at 7.30pm at 103 Northcourt Avenue.

Canvassing: Councillors and activists will be out meeting residents to discuss concerns on Monday 28th January at 6pm on Northcourt Avenue and Tuesday 29th January at 5pm on Shinfield Road.

Full Council meeting: Church Ward Councillors will be in attendance at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 22nd January at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.

Policy Committee meeting: Ashley will be present in his role as Lead member for education on Monday 14th January at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.

Schools Forum: Ashley will be in attendance to hear concerns from school head teachers on Thursday 17th January at 5pm at the Civic Centre.

Governors briefing: Ashley will be meeting with School Governors from across the Borough to update on education issues on Tuesday 15th January from 6pm at The Avenue School.

Reading Girls School visit: Ashley will be visiting Reading Girls School on Northumberland Avenue to speak with the Head and meet students on Thursday 17th January at 2pm.

University of Reading community meeting: Local Councillors and residents will be meeting representatives from Reading University to discuss concerns that have arisen. The meeting will take place on Tuesday 29th January at 6.30pm in the Chancellors building.

Labour All Members Meeting : Members of the Reading Labour party will be able to input their views on our local election manifesto on Thursday January 24th at 8pm at the Civic Centre.


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ACE Committee to report on education standards in Reading

At this week’s ACE meeting the latest figures on Reading schools standards will be discussed. There is a mixed picture for Reading schools but a clear path of how we will improve. Reading has a very mixed school economy, with selective schools, Academies, Free schools, Council maintained, and technical colleges. As well as this, the small geographical nature of our Borough means nearly 10% of our primary age students are educated under other authorities, and nearly 30% of our Secondary age students. This is similar of students coming into the Borough.

At Key stage one for those having just started schooling, phonics is improving, Reading is secure, writing is lower than expected and Maths is at the national average. Our new education strategy will have a focus on writing for primary schools and facilitating peer working between schools to raise these outcomes. At Key stage 2 student results are increasing but not quite keeping pace with the increase in national results. This picture is still mixed as our schools do well with students exceeding expectations and our Council maintained schools do better than our Academies. Our strategy sets out closer working with the regional schools commissioner to help with this.

At Key stage 4 and 5, our schools progress scores are good and above national averages. With A levels in particular the towns outcomes are outstanding. But the picture here is also still mixed. Our disadvantaged students achievements are too low (another focus of our new strategy) and our selective schools schools are attended by just 24% of Reading pupils, but both Kendrick and Reading boys are making positive moves to increase these numbers.

The mixed nature of who runs our schools is getting more complicated every year. This is making monitoring our schools more difficult every year. But our new education strategy will take steps to prioritise and inform our education provision to help all Reading students achieve the best they can with the one chance at education they get.

The full report is available to read on the Council’s website.

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