Figures don't tell the whole story
LAST week’s Ofsted annual report didn’t make pleasant reading. St Helens was one of the areas singled out for the comparatively low proportion of children who could expect to attend ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ secondary schools.
But while we are aware that improvements need to be made, the figures don’t tell the whole story.
The Ofsted findings are based on inspections that happened some time ago - and things are improving.
Against a backdrop of considerable qualification and curriculum reform our secondary schools are currently above national averages for pupils gaining five GCSEs A*-C including English and maths. The national figure is 52.6 per cent of pupils – but we are at 54.6 per cent.
We expect this position to improve further over the coming months, particularly with the arrival of our new Local Schools Commissioner Phil Fitzpatrick. We’re one of the first authorities in the country to create such a role – showing that we mean business when it comes to helping our young people to fulfil their potential.
IT’S good to see all the work that’s now going into looking after our service personal and veterans.
There’s lots of help available, but for many of our servicemen and women it hasn’t been easy trying to find it. In St Helens though, all that’s set to change.
An information evening at the recently-opened Centurion Centre in North Road gave representatives from 12 armed forces organisations the chance to meet officials from health, housing and work-related services as well as partner organisations.
Against an ever changing background - and with more and more services available locally - the session aimed to increase communication and partnership working between local armed forces organisations and local services.
It’s the first of many sessions taking place and the start of ongoing work among the various armed forces organisations and local support services - and this communication will be maintained as we develop a cohesive approach that addresses the needs of servicemen, servicewomen and veterans.
OUR new litter wardens are already making an impact.
Three people were fined at St Helens Magistrates Court after the wardens spotted them dropping rubbish. Fines of £75, £195 costs and a victim surcharge of £20 were handed out to each defendant.
The prosecutions were a last resort – as the vast majority of cases involving littering offences are dealt with by a fixed penalty notice. However, if it’s not paid on time, or a person is abusive or provides false or misleading information to officers, then it’s our policy to prosecute those individuals.
Since the litter wardens began their work in August, they’ve served over 600 fixed penalty notices – which incur a £75 charge or £50 if paid within 10 days.