Good in parts but overall verdict on schools suggests much room for improvement (From The Northern Echo)
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Good in parts but overall verdict on schools suggests much room for improvement
DESPITE primary schools in Darlington being rated as the best performing in England Ofsted’s overall verdict on education in our region makes worrying reading for many parents.
Ofsted’s annual report on education in the North-East, Yorkshire and Humber region puts primary schools in Darlington in pole position in England with 97 per cent of children attending good or outstanding schools. Nationally, Ofsted warns that the story of England’s education system is “a tale of two nations”.
Children from similar backgrounds and similar abilities can end up with different prospects just because of where they were born and the quality of the school they attended, according to the watchdog’s annual report.
Overall, the performance of the nation’s primary schools has improved, Ofsted found.
While primary schools in the North-East are praised by inspectors as being among the best in the country, secondary schools in our region are – according to Ofsted - among the worst in the country.
York is the highest placed local authority area in our region for secondary schools, rated as joint 19th nationally with County Durham schools rated as joint 37th.
In his summary, Nick Hudson, regional director for Ofsted, says: “There is unacceptably large variation in school performance across local authority areas in the North-East, Yorkshire and Humber. The primary sector in the North-East is among the best in the country, while Yorkshire and Humber has one of the highest proportions of primary schools in England that are less than good.
Mr Hudson said despite pockets of high performance, secondary schools in the region are “overall, amongst the worst in the country.”
He said a child’s experience of secondary school in the region “means that they are less likely to attain results above the national level in the key indicator of five good GCSEs, including English and mathematics, than almost anywhere else in the country.”
Rates of absence for secondary school pupils in the region are “of grave concern” and the highest nationally, he added.
The fact that more than 300,000 children in the region are educated in a school or academy that is not good or outstanding “makes depressing reading”, said Mr Hudson.
The Ofsted regional director added: “It is imperative that we rise collectively to the challenge and meet it head on, so that our future generations are equipped with the skills to compete equally on the national and international stage.” Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: "This is great news for Darlington. All the Primary Schools have worked extremely hard to achieve great outcomes. We have supported good leadership and continue to promote a culture of ambition.”
Carole Coleman is head teacher at Mount Pleasant Primary School, Newton Lane, Darlington, which was in special measures when she took over three years ago. Now the school is rated as ‘good’ with ‘oustanding’ management.
She told The Northern Echo: “It is really good that this has happened. It recognizes the progress we have made. It is all about knowing where you are going and what you need to do to get there.”
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