Camden schools and educational bodies receive extra cash boost

A former head of Ofsted has stepped down as head of a partnership aimed at improving attainment in Camden schools following its successful launch.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, who was chief inspector of schools from 2000 to 2002, was acting chairman of the Camden Partnership for Educational Excellence (CPEE) which was set up in February this year.

The CPEE has a pot of �2million funding from Camden Council which schools can apply for.

Sir Mike said there were three key aims of the partnership.

These include helping children make the move from primary to secondary schools, improving vocational provision for young people aged 14 and above, and enhancing the school curriculum for primary schools and voluntary bodies.

He added that the board wanted to fund projects that had long-term value with outcomes that could be shared between schools.

He said: “The point of this is that we start with one school. If a project’s successful, we would want to expand it across the borough.

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“One of the conditions of the award is that they share their work with other schools.”

Over 30 schools and organisations applied for the first round of funding, but just less than half – 13 – were successful.

Sir Mike said there was a consensus among board members about which projects received funding, adding “there was not a single project that needed a vote”.

The board is made up of councillors, headteachers, governors, parents, representatives from further education, higher education and the Wellcome Trust.

Sir Mike said the partnership, the first of its kind in the country, “represents a new structure for the relationship of the local authority and its external partners” as schools are working on the same level as the local authority.

Looking to the future, he said: “I think it will develop in its own way. I hope it will be a driving force for development and innovation in education services in Camden. I wish it every success.”

Among the schools awarded funding was Eleanor Palmer Primary, which has received �7,000 for a project to encourage children to read more.

Headteacher Kate Frood said: “We are using it to look at ways to create lifelong reading habits in a specific targeted group of our older children, who, although they can read, don’t yet have a habit of choosing and enjoying reading which leads to the higher order skills to see them safely through secondary.”

They are introducing a reading computer programme, already in use across Year 7 at Acland Burghley School, that helps direct a child to a book that is the right one for them through short quizzes.

“We’re also dedicating specific staff time to the group, working around books, visiting bookshops and libraries and meeting authors so as to build up the children’s knowledge of books and their understanding of making the right choices,” said Ms Frood.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if technology or human relationships have the greatest impact!”