Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent pupils 'not getting good education'

Stoke-on-Trent city council
Image caption Children in the city underperform at most key stages of education, Ousted says

Too many school children in Stoke-on-Trent are not getting an adequate education, Ofsted has said.

Standards in the city's schools are not improving quickly enough, the government watchdog found.

In a letter to authorities, Ofsted regional director Lorna Fitzjohn said more than 5,500 secondary pupils were at a school not yet good enough.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the authority was "rightly ambitious" in the targets it sets for improvements.

Ms Fitzjohn acknowledged "some green shoots" of improvement at the schools were evident.

But inspectors found local authority arrangements for continued improvement in schools was still not good enough and children underperformed at most key phases of education.

Ofsted said the council's ambitious targets to improve standards were "unrealistic" and being missed, leaving the area "one of the worst in England" for the number of good and outstanding primary and secondary schools.

The inspection

  • Ofsted carried a local authority school improvement inspection in January
  • Ninety-six nurseries, primary and secondary schools inspected
  • Twenty-six were rated inadequate or in need of improvement

Ms Fitzjohn said Stoke-on-Trent's primary schools were still lingering in the bottom 10 authority areas.

"Equally as poor is the fact the area is in the bottom 20% in England for the number of good or outstanding secondary schools," she added.

However, inspectors accepted the council was applying a rigorous approach to improving in leadership at schools to deal with the problem.

A council spokesman said: "We'd like to reassure parents and carers that we are working very closely with schools to ensure we have robust mechanisms in place that will lead to continuous and sustained improvements.

"The partnership between the council and schools has never been better and is driving up the quality of education."

The Stoke Schools Improvement Plan

Dianne Mason, executive head teacher at St Peter's Catholic Primary School in Cobridge and St Wilfrid's Catholic Primary, both rated outstanding by Ofsted, is a member of the Stoke Schools Improvement Plan.

She said the group, comprising head teachers, councillors and local authority staff, was working extremely hard to improve school's performance.

"It will identify the schools that are vulnerable by looking at the performance data and obviously the priorities and see if we can support them in some way in order to develop," she said.

"This is a group that has been developing over the last 18 months and is becoming more rigorous.

"Schools are moving forward and there will be good schools across the city.

"When a school is in difficulties and get the support although the school improves it can take quite a while to turn the performance data around. Although things are in place it takes a while for data to change and for things to catch up."

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