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Brighton and Hove primary schools win top marks as their West Sussex counterparts struggle

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BRIGHTON and Hove primary schools are among the highest performing in the South East.

A regional report released by Ofsted yesterday revealed the city’s schools are fourth in the South East when it comes to good and outstanding rated schools.

The figures showed 94 per cent of primary schools were rated good or outstanding (as of August), putting the city above the national average (90 per cent).

The city’s 38 state primary schools also came in the top six in the region for the proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in Key Stage 2.

Some 63 per cent of pupils reached the benchmark in reading, writing and maths, beating the national average of 61 per cent. The report also showed the city’s ten secondary schools to be performing at the national average.

For “attainment 8”, which measures the average achievement of pupils up to GCSE qualification, the city measured 46.6 per cent, putting it above the national average (46.1 per cent) but trailing in tenth behind the likes of high performing Buckinghamshire at 52.6.

In the Ofsted league table the city was 14th out of 19 local authorities, with 80 percent judged good or outstanding.

Ofsted South East director Chris Russell said children were generally well served in the region but had concerns over outcomes disadvantaged youngsters,

He said: “I am delighted to see that once again the South East has maintained its high educational standards from the early years right through to post 16.

“Young people typically gain the skills and knowledge they need. Inspection outcomes in primary schools have caught up with those nationally, closing the gap seen last year.

“Standards in secondary schools are also the second highest in the country, and A-level results are the highest.”

“However my concerns remain over outcomes for disadvantaged youngsters.

“Too many do not get the free early years support they are entitled to and fall behind in basic skills such as reading, as noted in our early years report two weeks ago. They do not catch up at primary or secondary school and emerge without basic qualifications.

“And many then struggle to find good quality education or training at post-16.

“Too often access to opportunity still depends on where young people live. In the more deprived areas in the region there are still too few good schools to drive up standards and, while more are becoming academies, this is not yet solving the problem.

“That said, children and young people are generally well served in the region.

“The dedication of teachers and social workers has meant that high quality education, as well as the right care and support, has given children a sound foundation to prepare them for their future.”

BUT OFSTED SAYS WEST SUSSEX MUST DO BETTER

WEST Sussex County has admitted attainment at its primary schools is not good enough after its pupils achieved the lowest marks in the South East.

The local authority’s primary schools ranked the lowest out of 19 local authorities in the region, according to Ofsted.

It was revealed in its annual report published yesterday that 55 per cent of Key Stage 2 pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, much lower than the national average at 61 per cent and almost 15 percentage points behind highest performing authority, Wokingham.

The local authority also ranked in the bottom four for the percentage of primary schools judged good or outstanding.

Only 83 per cent of primary schools were rated good or outstanding by Ofsted compared with the national average of 90 per cent.

Some 73 primary schools are rated requiring improvement and one rated the lowest at inadequate.

West Sussex County Council admitted standards were not good enough.

A spokeswoman said: “Improving primary provision and outcomes remains one of the council’s highest priorities.

“We are committed to giving all our children and young people the best start in life.

“Attainment and progress at Key Stage 1 and 2 is not good enough.

“We are actively working with our schools to provide challenge and support to ensure that pupils’ outcomes are significantly improved.

“Indications show that this improvement is gathering pace.

“West Sussex Key Stage 2 results improved in 2017 by ten per cent on 2016 for achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, closing the gap to the national average.

Improvements “This is one of the best improvements of a county council.

“By comparison, national results improved by only seven per cent.

“For 2017/18 West Sussex has in place a continuing comprehensive support programme for school improvement that focuses on English, mathematics and preparation for national assessment moderation.

“The School Improvement Strategy continues to provide a link adviser to support and challenge every school and academy and to provide additional challenge and support where there is the greatest need.”

The percentage of secondary schools judged good or outstanding was better than primary schools at 82 per cent.

They also performed above the national average with 46.5 per cent in “attainment 8”, the average achievement of pupils in eight GCSEs including English and maths.

The National Union of Teachers said schools in the area were losing teachers due to pay and workload, and it was affecting standards.

Ann Seuret, division secretary, said: “The primary problem is lack of funding.

“It has a knock-on effect on problems with recruitment and retention of staff.

“The model for the West Sussex pay policy for pay increases is less than what trade unions are asking for, and that will not help retention carrying forward.

“Workload causes an enormous amount of stress and work-related sickness.

“It affects standards because if you haven’t got a good amount of permanent qualified staff, you are not going to get the same level of teaching.”

It comes as momentum has grown behind the campaign Worthless?

The West Sussex Schools Campaign for fairer funding has seen headteachers, pupils and parents marching to London and lobbying MPs.

WHERE PUPILS ARE FAILED

DISADVANTAGED pupils should not be used as an excuse for chronically under-achieving schools, the head of Ofsted warned, as it was revealed more than 120 have consistently under-performed for a decade.

Amanda Spielman, the education watchdog’s chief inspector, said the schools had unstable leadership, problems recruiting and high proportions of deprived students.

But she hit out at the culture of “disadvantage one-upmanship” in her first annual report, adding: “Schools with all ranges of children can and do succeed.”

Labour said Government policies had created problems with teachers’ pay and recruitment, while education unions said Ofsted could be part of the problem.

More than 500 primary schools and some 200 secondaries have been judged as requiring improvement or being satisfactory at their last two inspections, according to the report.

Of those inspected this year, 124 schools have failed to record a good or outstanding Ofsted inspection since 2005, despite receiving “considerable attention and investment”.

The watchdog apologised after it mistakenly named an additional 11 schools in an initial list of those consistently underachieving, which was released with the report.

Speaking at the report launch, Ms Spielman said: “There is no doubt that the leadership challenge facing some schools is great. But progress is possible and we should all be wary of using the make-up of a school community as an excuse for under-performance.

“I do find myself frustrated with the culture of ‘disadvantage one-upmanship’ that has emerged in some places.”

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said it was identifying areas in need of support and investing £280 million over the next two years to target resources.

Around £75 million is also being invested in teachers’ professional development and £42 million in training.

Mr Gibb said: “We know there is more to do to tackle consistent under-performance.”


Source: The Argus