Independent education experts have identified significant strengths in Cambridgeshire County Council's support for schools.

These include the Council's good relationships with schools, the quality of the support offered to schools and the Council's plans for even better support to help schools improve.

A peer review found that most children in Cambridgeshire did well at school, but said there was a pattern of low achievement in many of the more vulnerable groups, such as those in receipt of free school meals.

Overall, more schools should be "˜good' or "˜outstanding' than is currently the case, the experts added.

The peer review comprised senior education experts working in other local authorities, who visited Cambridgeshire to see what they thought was working well and what could be done better in terms of the authority's support to schools.

The review team visited in March and met with a number of school leaders as well as staff within the authority. They identified significant strengths in council services for school improvement.

These included the council's good relationships with schools, the quality of some of the programmes the authority offers to school leaders and the improvement plans the council already has in place.

The main recommendation of the review was for the council to bring together all agencies currently offering support to schools and to lead the development of a clear countywide strategy for challenge and support that will drive improvement in the future.

This strategy will need to define more clearly the options for schools in terms of accessing support and the role of the council in ensuring this support has a positive impact, the review team added.

Cambridgeshire County Council's Director of Learning Keith Grimwade said: "The peer review was a very useful learning experience. The time and expertise given by colleagues was extremely valuable and the review has already contributed to our thinking about how best to drive improvement in all schools across Cambridgeshire."



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