Ofsted raises concerns about high schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook. Photo : Steve Adams

Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Ofsted has raised concerns about the 'comparatively low proportion' of 'good' or 'outstanding' high schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, as it launched its annual report this morning.

Ofsted has raised concerns about the 'comparatively low proportion' of 'good' or 'outstanding' high schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, as it launched its annual report this morning.

While the inspectorate raised the issue of a north-south divide in GCSE performance at a national level, a briefing document also raised concerns about the East of England region.

Secondary schools

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Ofsted said: 'Secondary schools perform less well than primary schools in the East of England, with 73pc of secondary schools judged to be at least good, compared to 82pc of primary schools.

'Of particular concern is the comparatively low proportion of good and outstanding secondary schools in Cambridgeshire (48%), Suffolk (66%) and Norfolk (67%).'

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However, this masked a 4 percentage point improvement in the proportion of pupils in 'good' or 'outstanding' high schools in Norfolk.

This figure moved the opposite direction in Suffolk, which saw a 3 percentage point drop, and Cambridgeshire, where the proportion dropped by 10 percentage points.

Primary schools

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are all below national average for the number of primary school pupils in 'good' or 'outstanding' schools, although the figures improved in all three counties.

At the end of the last academic year, 79pc of primary school pupils in Norfolk were in 'good' or 'outstanding' schools, an increase of 8 percentage points on the year before.

In Suffolk, 76pc of primary pupils were in schools rated at least 'good', a 4 percentage point increase, and in Cambridgeshire 78pc of children were in schools rated at least 'good' - up 2 percentage points on last year.

However, Ofsted raised particular concerns about the progress primary school children in Norfolk and Suffolk make in reading, writing in maths, saying they were among the lowest 25pc of all local authorities in England.

The national report highlighted Thurton Primary School, in south Norfolk, as a case study of an 'outstanding' school, and quoted its inspection report from March which said: 'The leaders of this small primary school in Norfolk have created a culture and ethos that is outstanding in the way that it focuses relentlessly on teaching and learning and strives for excellence.'

Regional director's view

Andrew Cook, regional director, East of England, said: 'The picture across the East of England is one of variability. While children have a better chance to achieve well in the early years, the chances for older pupils and learners to do as well as they should are mixed.

'Ofsted continues to focus on the attainment of disadvantaged pupils which remains a concern in many parts of the East of England. Likewise, the poor achievement of many looked after children, particularly at the end of secondary school, not only causes concern but demands urgent action from providers and the local authority virtual schools.

'However, looking beyond the overall headlines there are areas where outcomes for children, pupils and pupils have improved. In Hertfordshire, for example, pupils are much more likely to attend a good or better school and attainment is above national average at the end of primary school and at GCSE level. However, more needs to be done to learn from the best providers so that there is greater equity in accessing high quality education for all children and young people in the region.'

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