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. THESE ARE QUOTES DIRECTLY FROM WILSHAW!!! “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.