The schools commissioner Dr Liz Sidwell is in the North West today (July 12th) to tackle the issue of underperforming schools.
Dr Sidwell will be paying a visit to the "outstanding" Hambleton Primary Academy in Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire, which she is using as a yardstick for the rest of the schools in the region.
Currently, the county has the worst performing primaries in the North West and the commissioner is keen to make sure that these schools are quickly brought up to speed by being given academy status. Other schools in the area that have already made this transition have shown good rates of improvement.
At the moment, around a third of pupils leaving primary school in Lancashire "unacceptably" fail to meet the standard expected in the 3Rs. The government recently announced it was launching a £10 million reading and writing catch-up programme to assist some of the 100,000 children across the country who are not able to achieve a level four at Key Stage 2 in English each year.
Under the academy format, which is strongly favoured by Dr Sidwell and education secretary Michael Gove, control of the school is taken away from the council and placed in hands of other stronger local establishments and education groups.
Highlighting the important role that the primary teacher plays in giving children a solid foundation for their future, Dr Sidwell said: "Sometimes change is necessary to really bring about the type of improvement needed to give every child the best chance in life.
"By becoming academies, these primary schools will thrive under the leadership of some of our best school leaders."
Two underperforming primary schools in Lancashire have already secured sponsors having been earmarked to become academies. Overall, across the country, some 200 primary schools will have re-opened as sponsored academies by the end of 2012.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels