School improvement not enough - Ofsted


- Credit: © Royalty-Free/Corbis

THE education watchdog Ofsted has suggested North Somerset Council is not doing enough to help improve schools in the area.

The watchdog has highlighted the region as one of 10 which is not helping struggling schools enough, although the councillor in charge of education provision insists the watchdog is ‘wrong’.

Even though the number of pupils attending good or outstanding primary and secondary schools has risen by five per cent this year, Ofsted says the improvement is not enough.

But Cllr Jeremy Blatchford said: “I know they are wrong and could find plenty of schools who will say they are wrong. We have a different attitude – if we are so bad at it, then why are we second in the region in secondary schools?

“Ofsted is very welcome to pick holes; disagreements are healthy, you don’t get progress without disagreements.”

North Somerset is third from the bottom in the South West for the amount of children attending good or outstanding primary schools – with 79 per cent of pupils attending this rank of school.

But the figure is higher in its secondary schools, with 93 per cent of students attending good or outstanding schools, placing it second in the region, beaten only by Bath.

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According to Ofsted’s annual report North Somerset is one of 10 authorities subjected to focused inspections because it has not been doing enough to support schools in the area.

Ofsted said problems included having no strategy to improve the weakest schools’ performance, no challenge for the best schools and a lack of knowledge and insight about pupils’ attainment and progress across year groups.

The watchdog also accused North Somerset of offering little support for teachers and having inconsistent personnel.

But Cllr Blatchford said: “We do disagree quite strongly with Ofsted about the way we challenge the schools.

“Our standards are constantly rising, if a school isn’t performing we do challenge them.”