Ofsted Probe as Pupils Failed by Secondary Schools in City

The Birmingham Post (England), December 11, 2014 | Go to article overview

Ofsted Probe as Pupils Failed by Secondary Schools in City


Byline: Emma McKinney Education Correspondent emma.mckinney@trinitymirror.com

EDUCATION watchdog Ofsted has launched an investigation after revealing children in the West Midlands are being failed by their secondary schools.

A study, to be published next year, has been commissioned after a damning report released this week by Ofsted highlighted the shocking state of the region's education and social care system over the last academic year.

Weak leadership from head teachers, governors and middle managers - coupled with "low-level" disruption by unruly pupils in classrooms - are being blamed by Ofsted for a poor performance at the region's secondary schools.

The report reveals that primary schools are excelling - producing higher numbers of pupils reaching their potential by the age of 11.

However, as soon as they get to secondary school, standards in maths and literacy either stagnated or slipped among pupils in Years 7 to 9, said Angela Westington, senior Ofsted inspector for the West Midlands.

"Primary schools are steaming ahead and doing well, but we are finding that in the first three years of secondary school children are no longer progressing in maths, reading and writing and in some cases they are actually declining," she added. "The 11 to 14 year old age group is our biggest concern.

"If I were a parent I would be ask-asking how are these three years are being organised, is my child treading water?" Ofsted has now commissioned a report in a bid to establish why some secondary schools are performing better than others, while schools are being told to re-focus their curriculum so that children are "challenged" and not repeating skills they have already mastered in primary school.

Meanwhile, Ms Westington also revealed the five schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal had also been re-inspected in the last two weeks.

She said reports on the inspections were due to be published "imminently" but refused to comment on inspectors' findings.

The schools were placed in special measures in April following snap inspections by Ofsted as part of the investigation into hard-line Muslims taking control of the schools' governing bodies.

Inspections of the schools in September found they had not improved.

Now Ofsted's latest report on education in the West Midlands - penned by chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw - also revealed that the watchdog had recruited a new senior inspector purely to tackle problems in Birmingham.

The report also attacked Birmingham City Council for the way it had dealt with schools caught up in the scandal and revealed that radicalisation of pupils remained a "key concern". …

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