Ofsted takes Norfolk and Cambridgeshire county councils to task over school standards

Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook. Photo : Steve Adams

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

Two councils have come under fire from Ofsted over school standards, letters released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

Correspondence from Andrew Cook, Ofsted's regional director for the East of England, raised concerns about pupils' results at the end of primary and high schools in Norfolk, and high schools in Cambridgeshire.

A letter to Michael Rosen, director of children's services at Norfolk County Council, dated November 12, recognised improvements in phonics – how children are taught to read – and reading at primary schools.

However, it added: 'Despite this, Norfolk schools achieved standards at the end of Key Stage 2 that are below those reached in the East of England and in the bottom quartile nationally. The rate of progress between Key Stages 1 and 2 is also in the bottom quartile nationally.'

Gordon Boyd, assistant director of education at Norfolk County Council, agreed Key Stage 2 results were a concern, but said the results of schools the council worked with as a 'cause for concern' improved 'very markedly' over the summer.

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He said the issue lay with more successful primary schools that were at the national average, but should be above it.

In his letter to Adrian Loades, executive director of children, families and adult services at Cambridgeshire County Council, dated September 25, Mr Cook recognised all but one high school was now an academy.

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However, he highlighted government guidance that councils should raise any concerns about academies with the regional schools commissioner, and questioned how effectively the council does this.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: 'The county council had already identified some of the concerns raised and is taking appropriate action. We remain determined to do all we can to help improve educational outcomes in Cambridgeshire.'

Ofsted said it did not send a similar letter to Suffolk.

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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