Ofsted annual report: 126 Norfolk primary schools are “not yet good enough”; report recognises improvement in county’s secondary schools; inspectors say “we are not walking away”

Ofsted regional director for the East of England Sean Harford. Photo: Steve Adams Ofsted regional director for the East of England Sean Harford. Photo: Steve Adams

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
1:58 PM

Ofsted has pledged to keep up the pressure on standards in Norfolk’s primary schools after data published today said the county is in the bottom 10 in the country for the percentage of pupils at “good” or “outstanding” primary schools.

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In its first East of England regional report, the school inspectorate’s regional director Sean Harford said Ofsted would re-inspect the county council’s progress in July 2014, one year after it branded the council’s support for school improvement “ineffective”.

The report said: “126 primary schools educating over 20,000 children are not yet good enough. Worse still, 8pc of secondary schools remain inadequate – twice the proportion of inadequate schools seen nationally.

“By the end of the year, over 6,000 pupils found themselves attending inadequate primary or secondary schools in the county.

“This gives us great cause for concern and, as a result, we are monitoring the local authority’s progress and will make a return inspection by the end of July 2014 to check whether the children and young people of Norfolk are getting a better deal.

“We are working with the local authority, headteachers and Members of Parliament to help ensure that things improve rapidly – we are not walking away.”

The report said test and exam results “have been too low for too long”, and the local authority has been “too slow to challenge weaker schools”.

However, the report also recognised recent improvement in the county’s secondary schools.

It said: “Norfolk has seen some improvement over the last year. Its secondary schools have shown the strongest improvement in the region, albeit from a very low base.

“Clearly, some schools are responding to the tough new agenda and challenging themselves to do better. The local authority has developed a strategy that provides a clear statement of intent to challenge and support schools to improve. It has begun to challenge more robustly schools

that are underperforming by issuing warning notices.

“However, the improvements at primary level have been modest compared with the rest of the country and the gap has widened over the last four years.”

The report singled out three schools in the east of England as case studies - two of them from Norfolk.

On Victory Academy, in Costessey, the report said: “Less than four years after its predecessor school was in special measures, Ormiston Victory Academy in Norfolk has transformed provision and outcomes for students in its local community.”

It described then-principal Rachel de Souza as “an outstanding leader”, and added “the academy has demonstrated that high aspiration can achieve remarkable results when exceptional leadership sets the highest expectations of its students and staff”.

The report said St Martin at Shouldham Primary School, near King’s Lynn, was judged outstanding in March 2013, and said “the school’s pursuit of excellence in all its activities is demonstrated by an uncompromising drive to improve and maintain the highest levels of academic progress. This is apparent at all levels of leadership and management.”

16 comments

  • @AE - whim? Whim? Who are you to judge my reasons to return to the classroom, and to question my desire to do so? And no, of course I wouldn't expect county hall to deny other "loyal" supply teachers work. As long as the prime reason for giving them said work was that they were actually good at the job, rather than just "loyal". I would like to be given the opportunity to go up against similarly qualified colleagues in a fair job market where the best teachers got the work. Both in the supply market and in full time positions. If I came back and was not good at the job any more then I would not expect to get work. Children only get one education - and it should be the best it can be. And there need to be male role models in primary classrooms. My point is that county hall were not even interested in seeing my CV - in exploring my abilities and seeing whether I would enhance education in Norfolk. But I guess that whilst Norfolk employs loyal teachers over good ones, the dire situation will continue.

    Report this comment

    norwichred

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • norwichred - what's your point? Were you expecting them to deny other (probably loyal) supply teachers work to satisfy your whim to return to employment?

    Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Well said Popeye!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • How can improvements be made while education in Norfolk is run by social workers? Haven't we learnt after Christensen!

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • It is clear that the government is using Ofsted to lever in academisation of a substantial of Norfolk's primary schools. Cleverly they are targeting not just low tablers like Cavell but also schools with higher table positions like Eaton. I guess they want the academy programme to reach beyond the several pockets of deprivation and educational poverty in Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Major failings still exist within County Hall and until these are resolved it will be a continual problem.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Am I protagonist?? "With London an example of rapid and improvement and warnings that areas such as Doncaster, the Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Suffolk were falling behind." (Wilshaw's Annual Report today). Government funding per pupil: Doncaster - £4282 Isle of Wight - £4482 Norfolk - £4301 Suffolk - £3975 Inner London - £6360 "One of the areas Ofsted praises for raising attainment is Tower Hamlets in east London." (Wilshaw..today) Tower Hamlets - £7203 A level playing field?? ......hardly! .....and Ofsted's role in all of this? Forgive me but I thought their remit, when set up 21 yrs ago, was to have eradicated school failure in 10 years, so have they failed too?

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • @AE - whim? Whim? Who are you to judge my reasons to return to the classroom, and to question my desire to do so? And no, of course I wouldn't expect county hall to deny other "loyal" supply teachers work. As long as the prime reason for giving them said work was that they were actually good at the job, rather than just "loyal". I would like to be given the opportunity to go up against similarly qualified colleagues in a fair job market where the best teachers got the work. Both in the supply market and in full time positions. If I came back and was not good at the job any more then I would not expect to get work. Children only get one education - and it should be the best it can be. And there need to be male role models in primary classrooms. My point is that county hall were not even interested in seeing my CV - in exploring my abilities and seeing whether I would enhance education in Norfolk. But I guess that whilst Norfolk employs loyal teachers over good ones, the dire situation will continue.

    Report this comment

    norwichred

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • My father in law left teaching in Norfolk to move to a Kent headship about 30years ago. His main reason was that he felt education in Norfolk was backward and out of date with low aspirations and his methods were falling on deaf ears. Especially when compared with the south east. He became a superhead. Looks like nothing has changed from his time. I'm glad we have Ofstead to keep the pressure up on poor teaching.

    Report this comment

    AA

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Perhaps the most important news for a long time yet nothing from the usual protagonists.

    Report this comment

    sensibletrousers

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Well my comment about Oriel being too good to be true has not appeared but the dirty tricks academies use to " turn around" schools can be found using a search engine

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • @AE - whim? Whim? Who are you to judge my reasons to return to the classroom, and to question my desire to do so? And no, of course I wouldn't expect county hall to deny other "loyal" supply teachers work. As long as the prime reason for giving them said work was that they were actually good at the job, rather than just "loyal". I would like to be given the opportunity to go up against similarly qualified colleagues in a fair job market where the best teachers got the work. Both in the supply market and in full time positions. If I came back and was not good at the job any more then I would not expect to get work. Children only get one education - and it should be the best it can be. And there need to be male role models in primary classrooms. My point is that county hall were not even interested in seeing my CV - in exploring my abilities and seeing whether I would enhance education in Norfolk. But I guess that whilst Norfolk employs loyal teachers over good ones, the dire situation will continue.

    Report this comment

    norwichred

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Just seen S Harford on Look East....he could barely string 2 words together and seemed totally spineless .......... no wonder Ofsted in the East is singing Gove's academy song. I always thought Ofsted were independent....it seems I am wrong.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • I'm a qualified male primary teacher who contacted Norfolk County Council as I was interested in returning to the profession. I have 20 years experience including time as a head, and am highly regarded. I wanted to start on their supply list. I got a one line response. There are no teaching vacancies in Norfolk. That was it. Didn't even want to see my CV.

    Report this comment

    norwichred

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • I did the same as you norwichred and did not even get a reply

    Report this comment

    Jacob Burns

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Norwichred-that is because the schools dont want to pay qualified staff as supply teachers-they use unqualified ill educated lesson supervisors instead.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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

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