Support service for failing Shropshire schools to be cut back
A service which supports Shropshire’s failing schools will be scaled back after moves to block the decision were rejected.
Shropshire Council’s cabinet agreed to reduce the Education Improvement Service (EIS), while acknowledging a “substantial risk” that standards would slip.
The number of full-time staff is set to be cut by almost half in a bid to save the £276,000 a year it would cost to maintain the current level of service.
The decision has been met with heavy criticism from the council’s Liberal Democrat group, which called the proposal in to be debated by the council’s performance management scrutiny committee at a meeting yesterday.
Lib Dem Councillor Hannah Fraser asked for the committee to send the report back to cabinet and ask members to find the extra funds.
She said: “Shropshire has seen a real improvement in its number of good schools. There are still children in Shropshire in schools that require improvement.
“The reason for this call-in is to support every child in Shropshire, each child only goes through education once.
"Schools in Shropshire are poorly funded compared to other schools across the country.
“Their resources are really tight at the moment, schools are struggling and making hard decisions every day about what they’re going to cut.
“Children are doing without as a result of the current funding structure.
“The service going forward will rely on associate headteachers for that support, I think that this can’t help but be detrimental.
“The council has got its priorities badly wrong and if it wanted to fund this it would.
“If you look at the purchase of the shopping centres, IT improvement, these funds could be used to support other services.”
Les Ball, headteacher at Norbury Primary School and acting headteacher at Chirbury and Stiperstones schools, spoke at the meeting and said he had had huge support from the service.
He said: “Without that I think at least one, maybe two, of the schools would not exist, and the other would be in serious danger.”
Committee members voted on whether to call the matter back to cabinet, and it was thrown out on chairwoman Claire Wild’s casting vote.