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Telford rock bottom for schools performance

By Pete Madeley | Telford | Education | Published:

Secondary schools in Telford and Wrekin are the worst performing in the West Midlands – while Shropshire's schools are the region's best – according to new shock data.

Ofsted's annual report into educational performance shows that a little over half (54 per cent) of secondaries in the Telford area were judged in the top two categories of good or outstanding in their most recent inspections.

The figure represents a fall of 15 per cent on the previous year and puts the borough rock bottom of 14 authorities in the education watchdog's performance table.

It stands in stark contrast to inspection outcomes in secondary schools in Shropshire. The county was the region's top performer on 89 per cent – a rise of 11 per cent on standards in 2016-17.

It came as Ofsted announced changes to its inspection process from next year, with more of an emphasis on the curriculum rather than exam results.

Across the West Midlands, 84 per cent of all schools were judged in the top two categories of good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, compared with 86 per cent nationally – a fall of one per cent on last year.

Telford and Wrekin also saw a decline in standards for its primary schools, with 87 per cent of them rated in the top two categories, a fall of five per cent.

There was no change in Shropshire for primaries, with 90 per cent rated good or outstanding.

Russell Griffin, a spokesman for Telford and Wrekin Council said: “Over 90 per cent of primary school children in Telford and Wrekin are currently in schools that are graded good or better by Ofsted, and over half of our secondary age children.

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“More than half of secondary schools in the borough had Progress 8 scores which were better than national average with three of the secondary schools who were graded ‘requires improvement’ on inspection, making strong improvements to pupil performance this year.

“Our primary schools have demonstrated strong achievement in phonics this year, with more children passing the phonics test in 2018 than pupils nationally, and more pupils at the end of Key Stage 2 reaching the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths than the national average.”

Across England there was a one per cent fall in primary inspection outcomes to 87 per cent, and for secondaries the picture remained the same at 75 per cent. A total of 2,200 West Midlands pupils (four per cent) did not progress from Year 10 to Year 11 in January.

Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted West Midlands director, said: “Most children in this region have the chance to go to a good nursery, school and then, if they choose, college. And, in our Ofsted annual report, there is a lot of good news.

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“It's particularly pleasing to see significant progress at some schools.

“As for secondary schools, 75 per cent of them are judged to be at least good, which is in line with the national figure.

"Within the region, Shropshire stands out: 17 out of 19 inspected secondary schools were good or better.

"But it is worrying that in the West Midlands more than 2,000 pupils did not progress from Year 10 to 11.

“In the coming year, our inspectors will be asking questions about off-rolling and exclusions when they go into schools.

"Ofsted will also change the way we inspect, so that there will be a greater focus on the curriculum – which is, after all, the substance of education – and a little less on test and exam data.”

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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