It follows a major rise in the number of children attending a good or outstanding school since the funding started in 2014. The new funding will help to continue the school improvement programme and develop plans to give more local children the opportunity to attend grammar school.
Cllr James Courtenay, Executive Councillor for Children and Learning, says: “I was delighted to announce a three-year investment into school improvement in the 2014 budget which has now come to an end. Since I announced this funding in 2014 the numbers of Southend children attending a good or outstanding school has risen from 71.4% to 89.2%.
“This improvement means the vast number of children in Southend receive a good or better education, but we will continue to support all of our schools and have recently formed a new Education Board to enable us to do so, irrespective of schools status (academy or local authority).
“We undoubtedly live in austere times, but now is not the time to withdraw funding for school improvement. Therefore I am delighted to confirm that we are continuing this vital investment, of £200,000 a year, for the next 2 years.
“One of the additional things we will be looking to do with this funding over the forthcoming years is to support more Southend-on-Sea children, and particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, to gain access to our grammar schools. We are fortunate enough to have four grammar schools in Southend, along with 'grammar streams' at some of our other secondary schools, and it is only right that Southend pupils consider whether it is right to put themselves forward for selection to these schools.
“Therefore I am delighted to announce that we have been working with the local grammar schools to come up with practical ways to ensure all children in Southend have the same chances to improve their life opportunities, and for many children this will be through attending one of our outstanding grammar schools. Further details of the plan to help assist our children prepare for the selection test and ultimately attend one of the grammar schools will be announced very soon.”
The funding is part of the council’s 2017/18 budget which was approved at Full Council on Thursday 23rd February 2017.