Analysis: Will 2012-13 be as bad as it gets for Norfolk education?

City Academy, Bluebell Road City Academy, Bluebell Road

Saturday, June 21, 2014
8:00 AM

The headlines flowing from the latest Department for Education analysis are alarming: Norwich is the worst city in England for GCSEs. And while this is terrible for the city, the breakdown of results for other age groups and districts is also often dispiriting.

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But although this data is bad, it is important to note that it reflects where things stood one year ago. It is perhaps most useful as an indication of the scale of the challenge facing our education system.

Click here to see a graphic showing what the new government data tells about education in our region

Norwich is the worst city in England for GCSE results according to new government data

Norfolk County Council would hope that we will one day look back on 2012-13 as the nadir, and 2013-14 as the turning point.

Last year’s two-pronged attack from Ofsted and the Department for Education left it fearing it could be stripped of children’s services, and the council made improving the situation an urgent political priority, with resources to match.

It has been muscular in intervening in schools causing concern - often controversially, when sacking governors, taking control of budgets and pushing for academy conversion.

Individual schools undoubtedly feel under huge pressure from Ofsted too, knowing that a poor report can damage the school and individual careers.

The council is now in a difficult period where new information continues to show how bad things were last year, but there is little concrete information about whether things have improved since.

There are, however, some positive signs.

Last year, Ofsted highlighted the number of Norfolk schools which failed to meet its basic expectation of being judged at least “good”.

Now, 70pc of schools are judged “good” or “outstanding” - an 11 point increase since last year.

Another concern was the percentage of 16 years olds gaining the government’s GCSE gold standard. Norfolk plunged 20 places in the national table, but even this masked the dire position of Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Now, according to the latest data from schools, 60pc of 16 year olds are expected to get the gold standard in this summer’s GCSEs - hitting the council’s target, and matching the national average for 2013.

The council says the figures for Norwich are predicted to improve faster than elsewhere in the county, by 8 percentage points, while the improvement in Great Yarmouth could be half that.

There is also positive data for primary schools.

As yet these are only projections, and confirmation is months away. And even if proved correct, the challenge of sustaining improvement, and making all Norfolk schools are “good” by 2016, will remains both huge and urgent.

10 comments

  • You'd think the council's resources would be better spent on supporting schools, rather than circling like vultures waiting for them to fail so they can become another unwanted academy. With figures showing academies like City and Open as major problems, why is forcing this on more schools considered a solution to anything? How does it result in better outcomes? where's the evidence? There isn't any, it's just smoke and mirrors so Gove can privatise our kids' education.

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    djw

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Of course its going to get worse. Dame RDS got her title on the back of getting kids to do qualifications which no longer count in the headline figures.

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    TheTruth

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Ok, Andy. I don't mean party political, but it's the good idea one day, bad idea the next - no stability. I agree with you about expectations, work ethic, stretching pupils, pushing boundaries. Not just teaching, but learning too. Complacency is a downhill road.

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    Patrick

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Yer proberbly royt, Daisy, but oi think the real prorblem's counting to 10 wiv me 12 fingers!

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    Norfolk and Good

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Patrick, remove the political part of your comment and I agree with you. You also missed out one vital ingredient that is also important - the attitude of the LEA! They have been complacent for far too long. I wonder if Lisa Christensen is still proud of what she achieved?

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    andy

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Whilst I partly agree about the funding, there is more to it than just that. It is also about expectations and work ethic too - and I don't mean just how hard they work. Is the education system really stretching the pupils? Have they been led to believe they are doing ok? NCC have a lot to answer for over the last few years and it will take some time to turn this around.

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    andy

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Noticeably most references are to 'gold standards', 'targets' and suchlike ... and what stands out "made improving the situation an urgent POLITICAL priority .." It's not about politics, it's about pupils' commitment, parents' commitment, teaching and learning -- ! Get local and national politicians out of the way - what do they know about Education?

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    Patrick

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Could always get a job for Archant though. What kind of language is "Norwich is the worst city in the England".

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    DaveG

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Well when you have taken the tongue out of your cheek NorfolkandGood you might consider whether the real problem has been the predominance of poorly educated councillors who haven't done their best by Norfolk, and non Norfolk council employees who pay into the prejudice against rural communities and of incomer teachers who are happy to see their charges as docile and dozy. Anti rural prejudice is vile, the underfunding of the region which is a net contributor to the national economy is just as bad, The other regions of the UK can frolic in spending whilst the rural areas of England can hold out the begging bowl. This is poor white children being failed at its worst. My great grandad was a roadman in a rural Norfolk village-one of my kids is a Cambridge graduate and between them they have a PhD, an MA, three BAs and a PGCE. And they as you know, are not alone. Norfolk kids are not thick, they are failed.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Norfolk born, Norfolk bred, strong in the arm, but thick in the 'ead! Havern a norferk edyukayshun's never dun me no arm

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    Norfolk and Good

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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