Schools minister bids to pay visit to city

David Laws
David Laws

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THE minister for schools will visit Portsmouth in a bid to help drive up standards across the city.

There have been huge improvements for children at Key Stage 1 and at GCSE level, although many schools are still struggling to meet standards at Key Stage 2.

This year, 74 per cent of pupils in Portsmouth achieved the expected Level 4 or above in English and maths, which although an improvement on previous years, is still five per cent below the national average.

Portsmouth City Council want to run a project called the Solent Challenge, inspired by the London Challenge, which worked to improve outcomes for children in schools in London.

So David Laws MP is to visit the city to see what is being done, and what the government can do to help improve even further.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council, said: ‘I’m very pleased David is coming down.

‘We have got a good story to tell about the improvement that’s happened in local schools.

‘It will be good for him to come and see it.

‘We want to mirror the stuff that was done in London.

‘The education standards were very poor. There has been a huge improvement in driving up standards in London.

‘It’s worked extremely well. If that works well, why don’t we look at doing something similar here?

‘We need to make sure that we are driving up standards across the board. If Key Stage 2 goes up I expect in five years time then GCSEs will go up too. We need to keep the pressure on both.’

Last year, the city council introduced a plan to raise expectations and improve standards of education across the city.

Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education at the city council, said: ‘We in Portsmouth are very confident and we know we can change education – we have already done it. We have moved GCSE results and we know we are good at Key Stage 1, so we know we can change Key Stage 2.

‘We can show him the framework of what we are already doing.’

The date of Mr Laws’ visit has yet to be confirmed.