Suffolk/East of England: Education under fresh scrutiny in annual Ofsted report

Sean Harford, Ofsted regional director for the east of England, spoke of his concern after the study found pupil attainment levels in the region at age five, 11, 16 and 19 are all worse than national standards. It is only better at age seven. Sean Harford, Ofsted regional director for the east of England, spoke of his concern after the study found pupil attainment levels in the region at age five, 11, 16 and 19 are all worse than national standards. It is only better at age seven.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
2:14 PM

Education in the region has come under fresh criticism today after the latest Ofsted annual report found the east of England is underperforming in a number of key areas.

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Sean Harford, Ofsted regional director for the east of England, spoke of his “concern” after the study found pupil attainment levels in the region at age five, 11, 16 and 19 are all worse than national standards. It is only better at age seven.

Leadership and management of schools are weaker in the east of England than in any other region of the country, the Ofsted east of England annual regional report published today said.

It found 76% of schools are being “led well”, below the national average of 82%,

The proportion of good or outstanding independent learning providers is also lower in the east of England than in any other region.

For Suffolk, one in every three pupils aged four to 11 do not attend a primary school rated as good or outstanding – nearly 30,000 students in the county.

It meant Suffolk (66%) was ranked the 11th worst out of 150 local authorities in England for 2013. Essex was the joint 24th worst.

Six out of the 11 sub-regions in the east of England were ranked in the bottom 15 nationwide.

But the region performed better for secondary education, the report found. It said 73% of students attend a secondary school rated good or outstanding in Suffolk, ranking the authority as the 84th best. It was 72% for Essex, placing it joint 91st.

Mr Harford said: “This is a real concern for high quality apprenticeship provision and a threat to the economic growth strategy for the region.”

He added: “Despite the relative affluence of the region, primary school pupils in the east of England have one of the lowest chances in the country of attending a good or outstanding school.

“Just under a quarter of a million children attend a school that is less than good.

“Overall, a lower proportion of primary schools are good or outstanding than in every other region and the gap is widening, as the rate of improvement is substantially slower than across the rest of the country.

“A lower proportion of secondary schools in the region are good or outstanding than in England overall, although there are signs of improvement in the last year.

“A similar picture is seen in the quality of further education, which has shown an increase in the proportion of learners attending good or outstanding colleges.”

It comes after Mr Harford sent a scathing letter to Suffolk’s education chiefs after just two schools out of 33 inspected in the county in September were ranked as outstanding. Six were rated inadequate, 12 required improvement and 13 were rated as good.

Suffolk has been flagging behind the national average in the number of students scoring at least five Cs including English and maths in their GCSEs every academic year since 2008/09.

“The focused inspections in Suffolk in September 2013 gave us cause for concern,” Mr Harford said.

“Too many of the schools inspected remained less than good and six declined in to inadequacy. “Additionally, only two improved to become good or better.

“These outcomes indicate that the slower than average improvement rate of both primary and secondary schools seen in 2012/13 continued.

“This points to the need for a concerted effort to improve education in the county for the more than 29,000 pupils who attend schools that are not yet good.”

However Mr Harford had previously acknowledged the strengths in the Suffolk system, such as Suffolk County Council’s flagship education initiative Raising the Bar, set up last year in the wake of the county being ranked 142nd out of 150 local authorities for educational attainment at the age of 16.

In a boost to the scheme, revised figures released in October found Suffolk is rising up the GCSE league table and edging closer towards the national benchmark of educational attainment.

The Department for Education data showed 54.4% of teenagers in the county scored at least five C grades including English and maths in their GCSE exams this year.

It was a rise from last year’s 50.5% mark, but still below the national average, which dipped by 0.8% to 58.6%.

Last year the county was 8.9% behind the national average, compared to 4.2% this year.

3 comments

  • Shame that Suffolk have systematically destroyed their own Schools Advisory Service and now have to go to Hackney to get support for their Raising the Bar project. Just shows how a Tory political agenda in Suffolk has undermined what was once one of best-performing authorities in the country - but of course according to Ben Gummer it's all the fault of the evil teaching unions! Tango Whiskey Alpha Tango!

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    Dogberry

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • most schools' get the same money per pupil depending on their PAN. However where they differ is the quality of the overall leadership and staff employed. just have a look and report on the OUTSTANDING Ofsted results of County Upper School, Bury St Edmunds over mNy years. Also ask why SCC senior education officers and secondary school heads are not beating a path to see how CUS is one of the best comprehensive schools in the country yet alone the County. Politics, that why, CUS is part of an all through academy which SCC have no time for. Pity the children who cannot get a place here.

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    BobbyH

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • The best schools seem to have more money and are able to pay their teachers more. Does there need to be a more level playing field with more funding for Suffolk or aren't Suffolk getting the best out of the staff employed? Do staff stay too long at one school in Suffolk and get too comfortable and complacent?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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