“Too many initiatives, too little accountability” in round 2 EAZs

An Ofsted report on Education Action Zones in round two of the
programme has found they share the strengths and weaknesses of EAZs
in the first round – too many initiatives, and too little
focus on improving attainment in secondary schools.

The inspection looked at a different, single issue in each of 10
round 2 EAZs. The issues included attendance, key stage 2/3
transition, dealing with disaffection, behaviour management and
raising pupils self esteem.

The government set up 73 EAZs in 1998 and 1999, 25 in round 1
and 48 in round 2 a year later. They receive up to £1m from
the DfES and private sector sponsorship and according to the EAZ
annual report are expected to make a sustainable change not only in
examination results but by “effecting structural and cultural
change in and towards education in some of the country’s most
disadvantaged areas”.

Despite the criticisms Ofsted found some highly effective work.
All zones have successfully helped their schools to work more
closely together and most have established helpful links with local

But most of the 48 round 2 EAZs are not targeting difficult
issues directly and deliberately enough, says the report. Most have
too many initiatives and many of them are not linked clearly enough
to the issues that need attention, especially in secondary

Most  have not effectively supported schools in re-integrating
pupils whose education has been interrupted because of absence,
mobility or exclusion. There is also a problem with accountability
and evaluation. Zones usually had too little data and inadequate
methods of evaluation to be able to judge the effectiveness of
their programmes, and they rarely held schools to account for the
outcomes of funding they received. In poorly managed schools they
lack the authority to require change so can do little to improve

Report available here

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