Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Schools Failing Two Million Children but London Success Is 'Unparalleled'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Schools Failing Two Million Children but London Success Is 'Unparalleled'

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis Education Correspondent

ENGLAND'S school system is failing two million children by condemning them to a sub-standard education, the head of Ofsted warned today.

There are "serious inequities" between schools in different areas, with pupils facing a postcode lottery over their education, Sir Michael Wilshaw said.

In his first state of the nation report since becoming chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael warned: England's schools are "not good enough" for a nation in the 21st-century global economy.

The gap between rich and poor children remains "stubbornly wide".

Thirty per cent of schools are not good, and there are huge disparities in a child's ability to get a decent education depending on where they live. In a major overhaul, Ofsted today launched a recruitment drive for eight new regional directors dedicated to ironing out the large differences in school results across the country.

The report highlights the dramatic improvement in London schools. Eighty per cent of secondary schools are now good or outstanding compared with 66 per cent nationally. And 69 per cent of the poorest children in the capital go to good schools, compared with 45 per cent in the South-East.

But results between schools and colleges in London still differ hugely. Pupils in Camden are more likely to go to a good primary school than anywhere else in the country.

Ninety two per cent of children there are at a good or outstanding school and Barnet, Richmond, Islington, Harrow, Sutton and Wandsworth are all in the top 10.

But children in Hackney and Haringey are among the least likely to go to a good primary school, with 58 per cent or below in decent schools. Sir Michael said: "We have found huge variations in the performance of schools across different local authority areas. If we aspire, as a nation, to move to a worldleading system, we have to reduce these serious inequities."

He also raised serious concerns about colleges in England, which he said are not preparing young people for the world of work, with London among the weakest areas. Ofsted inspectors judged 13 colleges to be inadequate this year, compared with four last year. …

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