BRUM IS TOP FOR SCHOOLS; Inspectors Give Full Marks for Quality

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY COLLINS

BIRMINGHAM is the first city in Britain to be awarded a top grade for the quality of its schools, the Evening Mail can reveal today. A rigorous inspection by Ofsted, the education watchdog, has resulted in the city's schools being given a Grade One result.

This is the highest award that can be made out of a ranking of one to seven, and puts Birmingham in the 'very good' category.

An official statement is not due until next month, and city education officials have refused to comment until the Government makes it public. However, the Mail understands the report will reveal that teaching and learning in Birmingham are the best in the country.

The report will heap praise on Prof Tim Brighouse, Birmingham's chief education officer for the past eight years, and his staff. They will be told their work with schools and teachers has enhanced professional commitment and resulted in a rise in standards.

It will also point to the commitment of the local education authority to improving the quality of teaching and the management of schools, a willingness to take tough action and making good use of the extra money for schools supplied by the Department for Education.

Ofsted inspectors, who spent three weeks in Birmingham in January, pouring over every aspect of the city's education service, examined almost 50 catego-ries from special needs provision to language teaching. …