A PROGRAMME to tackle declining standards is to be put to top councillors next week as secondary schools in Redcar and Cleveland are some of the worst performing in the country.

According to a report to be considered by the council’s Cabinet next Tuesday, the borough’s secondary schools were rated as being in the bottom three per cent nationally in 2018.

The report added that less than 40 per cent of the authority's secondary schools are rated “good” or better – five are in special measures.

That’s a stark contrast to the borough’s primary schools which see more than 95 per cent of students in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools, with children achieving expected or above expected levels in reading, writing and maths.

Last year, the council’s Children and Families Scrutiny and Improvement Committee set up a “task and finish group” to look into the causes of declining standards and to recommend potential solutions.

While noting several significant issues, such as exclusions and the council’s lack of direct control over academies, the task and finish group identified the transition from primary to secondary as a major concern.

A report by group chair, Cllr Ian Jeffrey, said: “The need for a clear offer on transition is imperative. We know this from what children and their parents and carers say.

“‘She seemed to do so well in Year 6 and was really proud of her work but in Year 7 her work is scrappy and her motivation has fallen off,’ – Parent of Year 7 pupil.”

The report added: “The Task and Finish Group’s work has confirmed that there is a need to improve the quality of transition experience for children and young people as they move through their educational journey.

“Redcar and Cleveland benefits from a strong ethos of collaborative working across all schools in the borough that has existed for many years, irrespective of whether they are a maintained school or academy, and this is an asset to the borough.”

Diane McConnell, education lead for children and families, said the council increasingly had a supporting role, working with academies, the Department for Education, regional schools commissioner and Ofsted to improve standards.

“There has been a strong commitment from all partners to engage with this strategy and improve the progress of pupils in secondary schools,” she said.

“Better communication about pupils’ academic attainment, curriculum coverage, social context and additional needs will help our young people to get off to a flying start and this programme is a key part of enabling that to happen.”

The proposal will be discussed by Cabinet in Redcar Leisure and Community Heart at 10am.