County council to spend £1 million in bid to make Northamptonshire highest performing place for education by 2020

Councillor Jim Harker
Councillor Jim Harker

Northamptonshire County Council is to invest £1 million in a new school improvement programme in a bid to make the local authority one of the highest performing counties for education by 2020.

The Race To The Top strategy will involve top-performing schools in the county being asked to share good practice.

Grants and bursaries will be offered to schools seeking to improve, and schools will work with businesses to provide mentoring and work placement opportunities.

Council leader Jim Harker said: “We are no longer prepared to accept any school that is failing our pupils and as a county council we are determined to take action to tackle this.

“That is why, at the end of this month, we will be formally launching our Race To The Top initiative which will identify under-performing schools and encourage all of our schools to do more for our pupils.

“By 2020, we will aim to be the best performing county for education.”

The strategy will involve schools in Northamptonshire using the latest research on pupil performance to create a new format for the school day, looking at start times, number of breaks and longer days.

Schools will also set uncompromising targets for all pupils and work with voluntary and independent organisations to provide after-school clubs based on excellence in sport, culture and work-readiness.

An innovative Strategic Education and Skills Partnership Board will be created to lead the programme, bringing together education and business leaders.

Councillor Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Learning, Skills & Education, said: “Race To The Top will be launched at the end of the month, with a tight programme and the aim to raise academic achievement of the young people in the county from below average to amongst the best in the country within the next three years.

“We will be working closely with the Department for Education and hope that additional funding will be made available from the government to help ensure its success.”