New plan to keep education on track in town

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SCHOOLS in Barnsley are being urged to work together to provide the best possible deal for their pupils as part of a new council initiative.

A partnership called the Barnsley Challenge is being set up, mirroring a similar project in Sheffield called the Citywide Learning Body.

The aim is to maintain unity among schools at a time when the Government is encouraging them to break away from council control to become academies or trusts.

Education chiefs in the town believe some overall structure is needed to ensure recent improvements in standards are maintained.

They hope the new partnership will help ensure objectives contained in the town’s Children and Young People’s plan remain on track.

Details of the partnership are being developed, but will attempt to bring together the best work developed in the town’s schools.

Officers are to speak with heads and academy sponsors to persuade them to sign up to a set of agreed objectives.

Cabinet member for children Coun Linda Burgess said: “While acknowledging the coalition Government’s drive towards academies, we want what’s best for the children and young people of Barnsley.

“Despite everyone’s efforts so far, as a deprived borough we recognise that educational improvements year on year have some way to go.

“We are determined to do everything we can to ensure that, once children leave school, they are well-prepared for life by gaining the qualifications they need. The Barnsley Challenge, will be a dynamic partnership to ensure all our young people enjoy success.”