Report reveals fewer schools were given top marks last year
Praise for rise in reading standards
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