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One in seven schools in the Black Country and Staffordshire are not up to scratch

By Pete Madeley | Education | Published:

Almost one in seven schools in the Black Country and Staffordshire do not meet Ofsted’s floor performance standards, new figures have revealed.

Could do better – Figures today reveal the extent of Ofsted failures, although many schools are deemed to be good or outstanding

A total of 13.8 per cent of primary and secondary schools across the region were rated either ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ in the year to August 2017.

However, more than one in five schools in each of two Black Country boroughs were given Ofsted’s top rating of ‘outstanding’ over the period.

Education chiefs across the region have hit out at successive governments for ‘repeatedly moving the goalposts’ over schools’ success benchmarks.

The worst area for schooling was Dudley, where 18 per cent of schools were given one of the bottom two ratings by the education watchdog.

Across the West Midlands, 2,313 schools were inspected over the period, with 289 of them (12 per cent) deemed ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

In both Walsall and Wolverhampton, 14 per cent of schools did not meet Ofsted expectations. In Sandwell, the figure was 12 per cent, and it was 11 per cent in Staffordshire.

However, just 2.8 per cent of schools in the Black Country and Staffordshire were given Ofsted’s lowest rating of ‘inadequate’.

Walsall was top of the pile across the region for ‘outstanding’ rated schools with 22 per cent, with Sandwell not far behind on 21 per cent.

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Dudley Council’s education chief, Councillor Anne Millward, said the authority was striving to improve outcomes for all its schools.

“We are heading in the right direction, and we are working really hard alongside the schools improvement committee to target schools that need extra support,” she said. “However, our task is made more difficult by the fact that successive governments have been intent on repeatedly moving the goalposts.

“We get to a point where we are getting on top of things and then have to deal with a new curriculum, new ways of testing and new ways of reporting to the Government.

“As soon as we reach the required level they move the bar.

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“We have an excellent working relationship with our schools, but there needs to be a smarter way of thinking nationally on how we determine schools’ success.”

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Steve Eling said: “A lot of work has been put into improving schools across the borough and the fruits of that can be seen with a higher number of outstanding and good schools.

“We are continuing to work with all of our schools, particularly those that still need to improve.

“It is congratulations all round for everyone involved in the improvements that have been made so far, but people should be in no doubt that we still have more work to do.”

Meanwhile the National Education Union says that changes to Ofsted’s inspection strategy have intensified ‘unreasonable expectations’ on teaching staff. Joint general secretary Kevin Courtney, said: “We cannot have high quality education if teachers are being driven into the ground through excessive workload and the unreasonable expectations of an out-of-control accountability system in which Ofsted plays a leading role,” he said.

“Until Ofsted can convince the education profession that its inspections are reliable and consistent, leaders, teachers and TAs will continue to regard it as part of the problem, not the solution.”

The new five-year strategy includes inspecting top schools more often, making reports more accessible to parents and placing greater emphasis on listening to the views of employers, learners and parents.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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