Bristol

Bristol education saved from government intervention

State education in Bristol has improved and the government no longer considers the city to be in need of "formal intervention", ministers have said.

The council was told in 2005 it had to improve both primary and secondary schools after poor academic results.

Last year, GCSE results in Bristol improved by 5%, with 40% of students achieving five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths.

The city council runs 119 primary and nurseries and 12 secondary schools.

There are also eight academies in Bristol.

A council spokeswoman said: "This is very welcome news... [but] there's still plenty to do to raise achievement and narrow educational gaps."

Ministers wrote to the council in April saying they recognised "the progress Bristol has made to deliver improvements in children's services and the city's commitment to maintain the positive trend".

'Plenty to do'

This included plans to further improve results at primary and secondary school, children's trust arrangements and management capacity within the council.

"The government now agrees that there is good evidence of continued progress but there is still plenty to do to raise achievement and narrow educational gaps such as between boys and girls and in some black and minority ethnic communities," councillor Clare Campion-Smith said.

Formal intervention means councils get additional scrutiny, oversight, challenge and support from government.

The announcement was delayed because of the general election and to coincide with the start of the new school term.

Clare Bradford, head teacher at Henbury School and chair of Bristol's secondary head teachers' association, said:

"This is a very positive reflection of all the hard work put in by schools and the local authority together, to tackle improvements we all knew had to be made."

Formal intervention can be invoked by the Department of Education where there is evidence that a local authority is failing to deliver a part of their children's services.

"Under those measures the Secretary of State can appoint a new Director of Children's Services to oversee the improvements," a Department of Education spokesman said.

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