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Ofsted: Suffolk failing to support and challenge schools

Oftsed Credit: Ofsted

Education watchdog Ofsted have said Suffolk County Council is failing to challenge and support schools.

In a letter to the authority, Ofsted says its concerned pupils in Suffolk’s primary and secondary schools are performing well below national averages.

The letter is the result of an inspection of the way the local authority is working to improve education in the county’s schools.

Among the areas which Ofsted found needed improvement were it said performance at Key Stages 2 and 4 in Suffolk is well below the national average.

The council’s strategy to challenge and support schools is weak – leaving some schools languishing in mediocrity.

Officials have been tardy in addressing poor leadership in council-run schools.

More positively, Ofsted did find that local councillors and senior local authority officials are ambitious and determined to bring about improvements in Suffolk schools.

But not enough has been done to make the improvements that are needed.


Council sets targets for school improvement

All of Norfolk’s schools are expected to be good or outstanding within three years, according to a report to be presented to councillors next week.

Members of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel will meet on Thursday 19th September to hear details about the County Council’s plan.

Two thirds of the county’s schools are now good or better, an improvement of 5% in primary schools and 10% in secondary schools since the autumn. In June inspectors visited the county and found that its arrangements for supporting school improvement were 'ineffective’.

“This plan rightly sets extremely challenging targets for this council and all of the county’s schools. Our role is to support and challenge schools to deliver the very best education for their students and this plan reflects the much earlier intervention and tougher action we are taking to ensure that Norfolk’s schools improve.

– Mick Castle, Cabinet Member for Education and Schools

As part of its strategy the Council has risk assessed all of the county’s state funded schools so that schools are clear on their current standing, regardless of whether they have had a recent Ofsted inspection.

Schools criticised for 'coasting'

The education watchdog Ofsted that's declared it will tackle the problem of under-performing schools in the East.

The head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw has criticised schools - including some in Norwich and Kettering - for 'coasting' and says it won't allow children to be failed any more.

In a speech today he gave a damning verdict on our region, asking why education is so dire in much of Norfolk and why East Anglia has so few National Leaders of Education.Matthew Hudson reports.

Ofsted chief questions "dire" Norfolk education

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw asks why so many Norfolk schools are dire. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

In a hard-hitting speech on school standards the Chief Inspector of the education watchdog Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has questioned why education is so dire in much of Norfolk.

He said:

"Why is education so dire in much of Norfolk? Why does East Anglia have so few National Leaders of Education?

"This is not good enough. I make no apologies for directing inspections towards schools that are anything less than good. They require improvement and we shall visit and revisit them until they do.

_"These coasting schools are not just those in coastal isolation. They are equally to be found in Kettering and Wokingham, Norwich and Newbury.

"The pattern of underachievement is particularly evident in a swathe of the country down the East and South-east of England."



  1. Emily Knight

OFSTED inspect Norfolk County Council

Norfolk is one of the first two local authorities to have Ofsted Inspectors look into the work it's doing to improve under-performing schools.

The new school improvement inspections are being carried out to make sure local authorities are providing the right level of support to schools in difficulty.

The inspection will look into why Norfolk has such a high number of under-performing schools compared to the rest of the country.

Norfolk schools face snap inspections

Ofsted inspectors have begun a week of inspections in Norfolk to find out why the county has a disproportionate number of under-performing schools.

Inspections are taking place in local authorities across the UK where the number of children attending a good or outstanding school is well below the national average.

In Norfolk parents only have a fifty per cent chance of their child going to a good or better secondary school.

Sean Harford, the Ofsted regional director for the East of England, said: "Those school requiring improvement will have an Oftsed inspector linked to them working with the school to make it better for the young people."

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