Re­port re­veals fewer schools were given top marks last year

Praise for rise in read­ing stan­dards

Rochdale Observer - - NEWS - Charlotte.dob­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @dob­sonMEN

THE num­ber of sec­ondary schools rated ‘good’ or ‘out­stand­ing’ fell across large parts of Greater Manch­ester last year.

Of­sted’s find­ings, pub­lished in its an­nual re­port, show a de­cline in top-rated schools in Manch­ester, where there was a steep 16 per cent fall to 57 per cent, Stockport, down 8pc to 62pc, Sal­ford down 2pc to 77pc, Bolton, down 3pc to 79pc, and Wi­gan, down 1pc to 72pc.

The na­tional fig­ure is 79 per cent.

Some of the chal­lenges faced by sec­ondary schools in­cluded staffing and re­cruit­ment prob­lems, and a lack of strong lead­er­ship, in­spec­tors say.

Sub­stan­dard sup­port for chil­dren with Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tional Needs and dis­abil­i­ties was an is­sue across the re­gion.

Vin­cent Ash­worth, se­nior in­spec­tor for the re­gion, said: “The is­sues are that some of the key agen­cies are not work­ing to­gether ef­fi­ciently. Par­ents of chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs are hav­ing to re­peat their story again and again to dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

“Ab­sence is also much higher among those pupils.”

Early years’ pro­vi­sion for chil­dren be­fore they start school was de­scribed as ‘slow’ by Of­sted bosses, while pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion was bet­ter.

Manch­ester, Bolton, Bury, Old­ham, Rochdale, Sal­ford, Tame­side and Wi­gan all have weak out­comes for chil­dren be­fore they start school, Of­sted said.

Com­ment­ing on the an­nual re­port, Of­sted north west di­rec­tor, An­drew Cook ex­plained: “While chil­dren in the north west gen­er­ally get off to a slow start in the early years, they tend to achieve well by the end of pri­mary school.

“How­ever, the chances for older pupils to do as well as they should are very mixed. Sec­ondary schools con­tinue to lag be­hind, with 71pc judged as ‘good’ or bet­ter, com­pared to 79pc na­tion­ally. This means that over a quar­ter of sec­ondary age pupils in the re­gion aren’t re­ceiv­ing a good enough stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion.”

In­spec­tors say there are a num­ber of rea­sons why sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion ap­pears to ‘lag’ in Manch­ester.

Mr Ash­worth said ar­eas of poor early years pro­vi­sion and young­sters not be­ing ‘school ready’ was hold­ing chil­dren back right through to sec­ondary school age. ROSSENDALE’S MP says re­forms to the na­tional cur­ricu­lum have seen the best read­ing stan­dards in Eng­land for more than 15 years.

In a state­ment, Jake Berry said: “In 2010 we an­nounced that all schools would be re­quired to use phon­ics to teach chil­dren to read and since then Eng­land has risen to joint 8th in the world for read­ing stan­dards – im­prov­ing the read­ing level of pupils from all back­grounds.

“For East Lan­cashire this means that more chil­dren are get­ting the skills they need to ex­cel later in life.”

Fig­ures re­leased last month show that 12,712 chil­dren in Mr Berry’s con­stituency are now at­tend­ing schools rated good or out­stand­ing – an in­crease of 3,162 since 2010.

He said: “This is great news for ev­ery­one in Rossendale and Dar­wen as more chil­dren are gain­ing the skills they need to ex­cel in later life. These re­sults show that we are build­ing a Bri­tain fit for the fu­ture, and makes sure that ev­ery child gets the best start in life.”

Mean­while, Whit­worth Com­mu­nity High School has re­ported record re­sults for the school, with 73 per cent of stu­dents achiev­ing the new head­line mea­sure of at least the new grade 4 in both English and Maths.

●●Rossendale MP Jake Berry (in­set) hailed na­tional read­ing stan­dards while Whit­worth High School re­ported record re­sults

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