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How would this make you feel?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by GrammarBear, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. GrammarBear

    GrammarBear New commenter

    I have copied below the letter all East Midland schools received today. Having worked in Northamptonshire for many years and witnessed the gradual demise of our LA, I accept fully that things need improving.

    Please read the statement from OFSTED and the WILSHAW quotes/soundbites. This broad brush approach must stop. No mention of help,solutions,funding or even anything that East Midland schools are doing well. I wonder how this would make anyone feel to be told that educational provision for thousands of children in the East Midlands is distinctly Second Division. I find Wilshaw's analogies insulting, demeaning and utterly contemptible. Educational inequality will not be solved this way.

    I am very sad that my vocation which I have loved and enjoyed for over 20 years is sadly being suffocated. Maybe I was wrong to believe that we are meant educate and nourish the whole child.

    Chris Russell Regional Director East Midlands

    I am writing to express my concern about the quality of education in Northamptonshire.
    Across Northamptonshire there are too many early years providers and schools of all types and phases that are not good enough. As a result, children do not achieve as well as they should. This applies particularly to disadvantaged children in the county, who are underachieving as a group. There needs to be greater oversight and coordinated action from those accountable for educational provision in the county.
    In the early years, too few children achieve well across the prime areas of learning. Although learning outcomes have started to improve, not enough children are making the progress that they need to make in order to be ready for primary school.
    At primary level, just under a quarter of pupils in Northamptonshire attend a school that is less than good compared with 15% nationally. This relatively poor performance is reflected in pupil outcomes:
     In the phonics screening check, children in the county have been under the national standard for the last three years. Three per cent fewer disadvantaged children in Northamptonshire reached the national standard than disadvantaged children nationally.
     At key stage 1, 74% of children in Northamptonshire reached level 2 writing compared with 77% nationally. In reading, two per cent fewer pupils than nationally reached level 2. Pupils eligible for free school meals were further behind their more advantaged classmates than nationally.
     At key stage 2, pupils perform particularly poorly in mathematics and in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling, test. Only 73% of pupils in the county achieved a level 4b in mathematics compared with 77% nationally. In the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test, only 70% of pupils in the county achieved a level 4b compared with 73% nationally.
     At age 11, only 59% of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved the expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics last year compared with 66% of pupils eligible for free school meals nationally.

    I am particularly concerned that at primary level, higher-ability pupils are not being supported to achieve as well as they should. Inspectors report that teachers are not making sure that the most able pupils are sufficiently challenged and that, as a result, they are not making sufficient progress.

    At secondary level, more than a third of the county’s pupils attend a school that is less than good compared with 21% nationally. Again, this is reflected in outcomes for pupils:
     By the end of key stage 4, Northamptonshire pupils are behind their peers across the country, with only 52% achieving five GCSE grades A* to C including English and mathematics compared with 57% nationally in 2015.
     The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils is particularly stark at key stage 4. Only 27% of young people eligible for free school meals in Northamptonshire achieved five GCSE grades A* to C including English and mathematics last year.
     The poor success rates for individual GCSE subject areas, particularly in science and modern foreign languages, are also a concern. Only 61% of pupils achieved a good (defined as A* to C) science GCSE compared with 69% nationally. Only 62% of Northamptonshire pupils achieved a good modern foreign language GCSE compared with 70% nationally.

    Almost all the secondary schools and many primary schools in the county are academies. Therefore, as well as writing to the local authority, I am also writing to a number of multi-academy trusts and to the regional schools commissioner to highlight this systemic underperformance.

    The distribution list also includes local politicians and Members of Parliament, as strong political will is going to be needed to bring about the concerted action required by all those working in the sector. I urge you all to engage in this endeavour by challenging and supporting each other to do better for the county’s children.
    Ofsted will, of course, continue to monitor performance across the county and will ensure that Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, is kept informed of developments.


    “National politicians and policymakers must start to worry more about what is happening north of the Wash. They should be asking why schools in large parts of the East Midlands aren’t doing better.

    “Derby, the home of Rolls Royce, has a proud history of engineering excellence, but local secondary schools are failing to deliver top rate GCSE results.

    “Nottingham has three widely respected initial teacher education providers on its doorstep, but at primary level its phonics results are the worst in the country. At secondary level, its schools are amongst the poorest performers for GCSE examinations.

    “Leicester, meanwhile, has enjoyed great sporting success and is home to the new champions of English football. Yet when it comes to education, its ambitions and achievements are decidedly Second Division.
  2. Ds2d12

    Ds2d12 Occasional commenter

    I'd be furious. Once again it's purely based on test results!
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Northants is well south of The Wash. A few geography lessons needed.
  4. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Yeah . . .I'm not entirely sure what Leicester winning the league has to do with long division and determiners. Maybe Jamie Vardy could visit all schools and help them get back on track before he moves to London.
  5. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    This is extremely interesting.

    I work in the North East and our LEA (and all schools) received a VERY similar letter from our regional director of OFSTED back in November - entirely derogatory and dismissive even though 98% of our schools are good or outstanding! Shortly after we found out for definite that 4 out of 6 of our neighbouring LEAs had had the same (the other 2 may have had as well but we do not know 100%).

    It seems this may be a nationwide assault! :rolleyes:
    GrammarBear and stupot101 like this.
  6. stupot101

    stupot101 Established commenter

    It would be interesting to find out. Perhaps the OP should post this on the Personal forum. I believe there is already a thread here
    Of course with the link to Wilshaw on the BBC website
  7. stupot101

    stupot101 Established commenter

    @senlady I agree, it could very well be some kind of nationwide assault.:(

    @GrammarBear Words fail me!. I know I would certainly feel demotivated, and dejected.:(
  8. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    what has a history of engineering got to do with the price of eggs ?
    many locations with industrial histories have large number of under achieving pupils as the reason for working was taken away from the communitites.
    How many of their schools offer the chance to do any sort of engineering these days? bet they used to, but not many qualified teachers for such subjects still working in schools or colleges.
    Our local technical college has spent the last 15 years ripping out all the machines and becoming just another A level factory. Cheap to teach, clean shiny classrooms where messy workshops and oily students used to hang out. And millions spent on a fancy facade and main entrance, not a student in sight!
    GrammarBear and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    I wonder if it is something that TES could look into and report on if it is fairly wide spread? I have a copy of our 'letter' saved at work.

    Was going to tag a TESser but can't think of them ...
  10. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    As far as I'm aware, Wilshaw has been Chief Inspector of Ofsted since 1st January 2012.

    If education in a whole region of the country is not good enough, then that's his fault. He's failed. He's rubbish at his job. He has failed to raise standards.

    That's probably unfair and a sweeping statement, but that's OK, he likes that sort of thing.
    chloef23 and hammie like this.
  11. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    In the spirit of sweeping statements ...

    You think this is bad, what do you think the leadership will look like once the last of the intelligent and morally upstanding educationalists have been drummed out?

    In the space of 5 years, all the primary headteachers went from being 15 years older than me to being 10 years younger than me ... and a lot of them are running more than 1 school. Badly. Scary times.
    GrammarBear and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    @TES_Jenna @TES_Rosaline have either of you (or I suppose I mean the wider TES news reporters) heard of these letters as a more nationwide criticism??! I would be happy to send our letter in and could see if there are others in our neighbouring LEAs who would?!
  13. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    and just what do they think they are going to do for the next 40 or 50 years? Next they will come for you!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. GrammarBear

    GrammarBear New commenter

    Thank you all for your positive and supportive comments and suggestions.

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