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Ofsted inspectors target under-performing schools in Derby

From today, inspectors will visit 11 schools in Derby and carry out a telephone survey of others Photo: PA

Teams of Ofsted inspectors are in Derby today in the first of a wave of focused school inspections targeting areas said to be under-performing.

It's the start of a concerted programme of action in local authorities where the inspectorate says standards are too low.

The Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw is making a speech this afternoon where he will say he's determined to find out why some areas are performing worse than others.

Ofsted has brought forward inspections which were due to take place over the next six months and condensed them into single weeks.

It's thought Coventry and Nottingham could also be in its sights.

From today, inspectors will visit 11 schools in Derby and carry out a telephone survey of others.

Most will be primary schools. In its last Annual Report, Ofsted found that only 43% of primary age children in the city go to "good" or better schools and 42% of secondary age children.

Ofsted Interim Regional Director for the East Midlands, Sean Harford, said:

"Children only get one chance of an education. I want to tackle the variations highlighted in our Annual Report and drive improvement in all the region’s schools.

That is why today and over the next few days, my inspectors will be going into a number of schools in Derby to find out whether performance is improving.

We will be paying particular attention to the effectiveness and impact of the support these schools are receiving from the local authority.”

– Ofsted Interim Regional Director for the East Midlands, Sean Harford

Teaching unions have attacked Ofsted's approach.

The National Association of Head Teachers said singling out local authorities could be seen as a political move towards replacing councils with chains of academies.

The NASUWT criticised the move as another attack on Derby schools, following the Government's intervention at Sinfin Community School.

Dave Wilkinson, Derby NASUWT Branch Secretary, said:

"It is appalling that the reaction from Ofsted to significant school improvements in Derby is to put teachers and headteachers under more pressure with a 'concentrated wave' inspection."

– Dave Wilkinson, Derby NASUWT Branch Secretary

Derby City Council says it welcomes the inspections as an opportunity to show how schools in the city are improving.