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Ofsted warns school standards could 'go into reverse'

Standards at schools could "go into reverse" unless improvements are made, the head of Ofsted has warned.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said the rate of improvement in many schools is "grinding to a halt", with 170,000 students still at schools rated inadequate - an increase of 70,000 from 2012.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the results of Wilshaw's third annual report was down to a tougher inspection regime.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

Ofsted names 13 worst secondary school areas

Thirteen areas across England have been named and shamed in a new Ofsted report for having the lowest number of students at 'good' or 'outstanding' secondary schools.

In the 13 local authority areas, children have a less than 50 per cent chance of attending one of the better secondaries - meaning more than half end up in schools which need improvement or which have been branded 'inadequate'.

These areas are:

  • Tameside: 49% (up 3 points from last year)
  • Middlesbrough: 48% (up 6pts)
  • Barnsley: 48% (up 25pts)
  • East Riding of Yorkshire: 46% (up 8pts)
  • Stockton-on-Tees: 46% (down 16pts)
  • Derbyshire: 42% (down 13pts)
  • Bradford: 40% (down 8pts)
  • Blackpool: 38% (down 8pts)
  • Doncaster: 37% (down 6pts)
  • Oldham: 36% (down 21pts)
  • St Helens: 35% (down 12pts)
  • Hartlepool: 35% (no change)
  • Isle of Wight: 17% (up 3pts)

The report found that only six areas in the country could boast 100 per cent of secondary-age students attending the top schools, five of which are in London - Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster - along with Rutland in the East Midlands.

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Schools battling 'hubbub' of gossip and mobile phones

Poor behaviour from pupils is blighting the UK's secondary schools, Ofsted's chief inspector has warned - with almost half a million children sharing lessons with misbehaving classmates.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said too many secondaries were dealing with a "hubbub" of gossip, shouting out, using their phones and other disruptions which often made teaching almost impossible.

The report found that too many secondaries were dealing with a Credit: PA

He found that of those schools inspected in the 2013/14 academic year, there was a seven per cent drop in the number where pupil behaviour was classed as 'good' or 'outstanding'.

This is unacceptable... Inspectors found far too many instances of pupils gossiping, calling out without permission, using their mobiles, being slow to start work or follow instructions, or failing to bring the right books or equipment to class.

While these are minor infractions in themselves, cumulatively they create a hubbub of interference that makes teaching and learning difficult and sometimes impossible.

– Ofsted report

His latest report adds that schools were often failing to challenge their brightest pupils, with a "worrying lack of scholarship" and teachers' expectations "too low" to match their students' abilities.

DfE defends rise in 'inadequate' secondary schools

The Department for Education has defended standards at secondary schools across the country, saying there had been "incredible improvements" over the past few years.

It comes after Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw criticised performance as "not good enough".

The Department for Education has defended standards at secondary schools across the country Credit: PA

In a report released today, Sir Michael said the proportion of secondaries rated as 'inadequate' had risen dramatically over the past 12 months.

But a DfE spokesman said Ofsted's tougher new inspections were behind the figures, as they left substandard schools with 'nowhere to hide'.

We share Sir Michael Wilshaw's ambition to keep raising standards in secondary schools but we should acknowledge we have seen incredible improvements in recent years - all achieved against the backdrop of Ofsted's much tougher inspection framework which leaves no room for underperforming schools to hide.

– Department for Education spokesman

They added that around one million more children were being taught in good or outstanding schools since 2010.

Secondary schools performance 'not good enough'

Chief Inspector at Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw has said that secondary schools need to improve to match the increase in the number of primary schools now judged as 'good.'

There is a growing difference in performance between primary schools and secondary schools...a third of secondary schools are not yet judged as good - and that's just not good enough and they've got to improve to catch the rate of increase in the primary sector.

– Sir Michael Wilshaw

Pupils chances of a good school vary across the country

In total, there are now around 170,000 pupils at secondary schools rated inadequate - the lowest Ofsted rating available. This is up by 70,000 children compared to two years ago.

The report also reveals wide differences across the country in pupils' chances of attending a decent secondary school.

In about a third of local authority areas, less than 70% of state secondary schools are considered to be good or better, while in 13 areas, children have a less than 50% chance of being educated at a good or outstanding secondary.

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Tens of thousands more teens in failing secondary schools

Tens of thousands more teenagers are now attending failing state secondary schools, the head of Ofsted is warning, raising concerns standards are stagnating.

Tens of thousands more teens attending failing secondary schools Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

The proportion of secondaries rated as inadequate has risen in the last 12 months, with over 50 more schools now in special measures than there were a year ago, according to the Sir Michael Wilshaw.

In his third annual report, published today, Sir Michael says while primary schools in England continue to forge ahead, the rate of improvement in secondary education is grinding to a halt, with the overall proportion rated good or outstanding remaining the same as last year.

Recession sees 'quarter of UK children in poverty'

A new Unicef report has revealed that the number of UK children living in poverty has increased to more than a quarter as a result of benefits cuts after the 2008 recession, United Nations Children’s Fund has told the Times newspaper.

According to the report, Unicef found that the UK, Italy, Greece and Spain saw an “unprecedented increase” in severe material deprivation.

This includes factors like whether families can heat their homes, afford reasonable food for their children and pay the rent.

David Bull, the executive director of Unicef UK, told (£) The Times: “It’s disappointing to see that 18 countries have managed to reduce levels of child poverty during that difficult economic period and the UK has seen it get worse."

The report can be read on the Unicef website.

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