Ofsted boss for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambrideshire: ‘We still have concerns across the region’

Ofsted's Regional Director, East of England Andrew Cook in Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams

Ofsted's Regional Director, East of England Andrew Cook in Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Norfolk has one of the worst records for children attending good or outstanding primary and secondary schools in the region, according to Ofsted.

The watchdog's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has today reported that a child starting out in the East of England has a better than average chance of attending a good or outstanding early years provider – but that probability decreases as the youngsters progresses to secondary and further education.

And Andrew Cook, the watchdog's regional director for the East of England, said although improvements have been made, concerns remain about the state of education in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

'We still have concerns across the region,' he said. 'In Norfolk there has been some improvement, but there is still a lot more to do.

'Over in Suffolk there are real concerns about some of the areas. Lowestoft has a high proportion of schools that require improvement. But the main issue these schools face is that they are not doing as well as they should.'

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In the regional report released this morning, 71pc of youngsters in Norfolk and Suffolk go to a primary school which is deemed good or outstanding.

Although that is a eight percent improvement for Norfolk and a five percent for Suffolk, it is still almost 25pc below Bedford, a top performer in the region.

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The picture for secondary schools is worse still in Norfolk, with 63pc of youngsters at top schools, a one percent improvement from last year and 30pc below the top in the region.

Suffolk comes in better, with a 1pc improvement on their 74pc.

The report says: 'There has been a six percentage point increase this year in the proportion of good or outstanding primary schools in the region, which demonstrates a marked rate of improvement.

'Unfortunately this has not been replicated in the secondary phase, where the proportion of schools that are at least good has remained virtually static.

Worse still, and in line with the national picture, the proportion of inadequate secondary schools has increased.'

The report highlights there is a higher number of schools which require improvement in King's Lynn and Norwich and there are many weak schools clustered around the coastal areas centred on Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Nationally, almost half a million children are being taught at secondary schools suffering from poor behaviour, Ofsted's chief inspector warned, as he raised concerns that standards are stalling.

Too many secondaries are dealing with a 'hubbub of interference' due to pupils gossiping, shouting out, using their phones and general low-level disruption in class, Sir Michael said.

Great Yarmouth College was praised in the report for its excellent leadership as was North Denes Junior School in the town, which was 'turned around' by senior leaders who halted the decline in standards.

The report emphasised the role local authorities still have in maintaining good quality of education for children.

The part Norfolk County Council played in transforming their role from ineffective in supporting schools to effective from last year to this was noted in the report too.

See tomorrow's paper for a two-page special on the report and what it means for your child.

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