Council plan more support for schools

County-wide testing is one of the goals being set by Northumberland County Council as it responds to recent criticism from Ofsted.

And a range of further options including more support for schools, teachers, leadership and governors were discussed by the council’s family and children’s services scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

The move comes after Ofsted inspectors visited 17 schools during a week in October after concerns about the attainment of pupils on free school meals compared to elsewhere.

Four schools – including Guide Post Middle – were placed in special measures.

Ofsted also criticised the local authority for a perceived lack of support for its schools.

The county-wide testing, due to be in place in the summer, is designed to address one of the key issues raised.

Coun Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services, said: “We do need to have consistency. We want to get that absolutely right.

“We can’t hide behind the school system, with middle schools blaming the first schools and high schools blaming the middle schools.”