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Leigh Excellence Cluster began on the 1st January 2004. It evolved from the equally successful Leigh Education Zone that enjoyed a reputation as one of the very best Education Action Zones in the country.

The 24 Excellence Cluster schools have built a very strong partnership of working closely together to raise attainment and promote social inclusion.

Our Performance

Between May 2006 and October 2007 Ofsted inspected a total of seventeen Cluster Schools. This is a very good and representative sample of 77% of the 22 mainstream Cluster schools. They also inspected a further affiliated school in which the Cluster supports the work of the Learning Mentor and who have adopted the Gold Standard Attendance policy. 90% of our schools inspected were described as ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’.

The Reports recognise strengths in many areas – outstanding leadership, the high quality and professional commitment of the staff working in our schools, exceptional teaching, consistently good behaviour, improving attendance and very high quality pastoral care.

Each year the Excellence Cluster produces a data led, comprehensive Annual Review which is almost certainly unique anywhere in the country.

Leadership and Management is a significant area of strength. The Cluster is now genuinely blessed with high calibre and visionary leaders. The 2007 Partners Survey shows clearly that the practice of working closely, and supportively, together is an important feature of this improvement.

As an EAZ, and now an Excellence Cluster, huge strides have been made in raising attainment, in fostering programmes such as those in Early Years which have benefited schools throughout the Local Authority, in improving leadership and management in Cluster schools. The Cluster has demonstrated that working in partnership can be hugely successful. More recently, through the government funded Behaviour Improvement Programme, the Cluster has demonstrated that schools can engage successfully with disaffected youngsters and their families to improve attendance and behaviour. The Leigh EAZ and the Leigh Excellence Cluster has worked unremittingly to combat these issues and to provide a real future for all the young people of Leigh. And it is succeeding. There are some very real success stories.

Nine years ago attainment in some of our schools was below national average. Staff in all of the Cluster schools have worked tirelessly to change this - and in doing so have provided opportunities for children to achieve their real potential throughout the Cluster.

As an Education Action Zone, and as an Excellence Cluster, schools have worked together as the test bed for the roll out of Wigan LEA’s Early Years programmes. These are now vastly successful throughout the CYPS. Innovation has been a key concept of the Leigh EAZ and Excellence Cluster.

The Behaviour Improvement Programme has also been a huge success. It has enabled staff both to engage with disaffected children and to tackle attendance and behaviour issues. Every Primary school now has a Learning Mentor and the two Cluster High Schools have teams of behaviour and attendance staff. In both of our High Schools progress has been made – through the two Inclusion Units – to reduce significantly the level of fixed term and permanent exclusions.

The government has given the Excellence Cluster extra funding to begin to help to change the lives of children and parents. The Leigh Excellence Cluster has proved that targeting resources effectively can make a huge difference. It provides wonderful value for money.

Our nationally praised team of Learning Mentors engage with parents about the issues that prevent their children from learning effectively. And it is making a real and positive difference.

The township of Leigh has some challenging issues around deprivation. And yet, at the same time, it also has so many very successful and flourishing schools. Recent Ofsted Reports demonstrate that they are truly inspirational places for children to attend each day.


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