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'Work together plea after schools shock'

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From the Waveney Advertiser:

A “really serious problem of low educational standards in Lowestoft” will not be resolved unless the whole community works together to sort out the issue, a councillor and former teacher in the town has warned.

Community leaders spoke of their concern after Benjamin Britten High School (BBHS) became the latest school in the town to get an “inadequate” rating from Ofsted.

It means three out of the four Lowestoft high schools are now in special measures.

Sonia Barker, a former history teacher at BBHS who is now Leader of the Labor group on Waveney District Council and education spokesman for Labor on Suffolk County Council, said:

“Unless the whole community sees this as a big issue, it won’t move forward.”

Mrs Barker believes the situation is not as straightforward as saying it is all the fault of teachers or managers within the school.

Instead she pointed to other factors that impact upon educational standards that also need to be resolved - such as deprivation and the aspirations of children in the area.

“Deprivation has an effect on aspiration, which affects self confidence. That means they are not meeting new people and are not aware of the opportunities that would just be natural if they lived in a more affluent area. They are not getting that advice.

“Being in a poorer area with fewer job prospects does have an impact.”

Those things, she said, could not be resolved by the schools alone, adding that teachers need a support network from outside to help.

“You have got to have the money, the resources and the time,” she said.

“In school you’re so busy dealing with the everyday that you don’t have time necessarily to be supporting other classes or departments.”

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