As the Labour Opposition Spokesperson for Education & Skills on Suffolk County Council I am responding to the concerns raised by the large number of Suffolk Primary School Headteachers in their letter to the EADT last Friday.
Firstly, the Headteachers gave compelling evidence based on their own experience of leading a school in their local community and how they feel Suffolk County Council needs to take a more proactive role in delivering school based improvement. Secondly, this is not the first time I've heard Suffolk Headteacher`s express these concerns as only last month at the Education & Children`s Services Scrutiny Committee a spokesperson from the Suffolk Association of Primary Headteacher`s gave evidence to officers (including Sue Cook Direct Corporate Director) and Councillors about their deepening concern about the lack of communication between themselves and the Council over an improvement strategy.
Sadly, this all chimes with the motion the Labour Group submitted earlier this year in March, in which we expressed our continuing concern about the ability and capacity of the current political leadership at Suffolk County Council to deliver improved educational attainment across Suffolk.
Headteachers are yet to be convinced that Suffolk County Council is listening to their concerns. What is required is a vision of educational improvement clearly articulated to Headteachers, teachers, parents and pupils across Suffolk that shows a clear strategic way forward with targets and outcomes that are achievable and measurable. Alongside the vision of educational improvement must be the appropriate support for Headteachers and all staff at each school to enable improvements to be realised.
It is obvious that Suffolk County Council has to `build bridges`with Headteachers and show that they are listening to their concerns as well as to teachers, pupils, parents, carers and the communities they serve. Children only get one chance at an education and Suffolk children deserve the best that the Council can provide.
Cllr Sonia Barker