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Poverty and deprivation no excuse for poor primary schools, says Wolverhampton MP

Sandwell | News | Published:

Poverty and deprivation are no excuse for poor primary schools, Wolverhampton's MP has said in the wake of 'shocking' statistics on education standards.

Wolverhampton's primary schools are officially at the bottom of the English league according to education watchdog Ofsted.

But city MP Pat McFadden has said it would be a 'tired and lazy' excuse to blame deprivation.

His remarks come despite his own Wolverhampton South East constituency being the 10th worst in the country for unemployment.

The Labour MP and former business minister has previously tried to highlight the problem of educational standards with a high-profile debate in the city, attended by Lord Andrew Adonis, the architect of Tony Blair's academies programme.

Wolverhampton was found to send fewer young pupils to schools rated good or above than any of the other 149 authorities listed in the report. In Wolverhampton, just 56 per cent of children attend a top-rated primary school, an Ofsted report showed.

The city trails behind its Black Country neighbours for the number of pupils attending a good or outstanding primary school. Walsall was rated the fifth lowest in the country, with only 60 per cent of pupils going to good or outstanding schools. In Staffordshire the figure is 71 per cent, it is 72 per cent in Dudley while Sandwell has the highest figure in the area at 82 per cent.

Mr McFadden said: "Although there are good and outstanding schools in Wolverhampton, and many teachers do a great job, the human cost of this situation is that too many local children are not getting the education they deserve, too much opportunity is being lost and young people in our city are being help back from fulfilling their potential.

"I believe the reaction to this shocking verdict is as important as the verdict itself. You can't solve a problem unless you acknowledge you have one. So we have to begin by accepting what was said and asking ourselves what we are going to do about it. It is no time for excuses and evasions, no time for shooting the messenger, denying the results or trying to explain away failure.

"The most tired and lazy excuse for educational failure is to blame deprivation. But to do so is profoundly anti progressive and educationally wrong. There are plenty of areas with high deprivation levels that did much better than Wolverhampton in the table – Sandwell, Liverpool, Middlesborough, Hackney."

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