Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, recently visited The Key and spoke to us about his experience of tackling pupil underachievement. He explained that he had worked in venture capital for 30 years, before setting up Future, a charity that now sponsors Pimlico Academy and Millbank Primary Academy, and then being appointed to the House of Lords.
Pimlico Academy moved from being in special measures to being rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in two years and four months – a success that Lord Nash attributed to the school’s strong leadership. From this, he said, consistent teaching and learning was able to emerge, buttressed by robust behaviour management and high expectations of pupil achievement. The school has emphasised the importance of rigorous, academic qualifications to its pupils. He said that 31% of those completing Key Stage 4 in 2013 achieved the English Baccalaureate.
He stressed the importance of governance, and said exceptional governors are able constructively to challenge the school’s leadership. In his view governing bodies do not have to be big to be effective. “A small governing body can, in many cases, focus more efficiently on its core functions such as supporting the school’s ethos, holding the headteacher to account, and ensuring the school spends its money wisely.”
We asked the Minister what he would like to see happen in the education sector over the next few years. He said he would like to see a greater amount of inter-school collaboration in rural areas. He would also like to see schools investing more in governors’ development.
Let us know where you think the sector can develop by leaving a comment, below.