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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

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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.

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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Failing to collect data 'devastating impact' on neglect

The Department for Education has admitted that councils need to gather information to spot early signs of neglect, after a report suggested around 60% of local authorities were missing key structures to address the situation.

We agree that councils need to gather information to spot the early signs of neglect, which can have devastating consequences for the most vulnerable.

[We] are overhauling the training and evaluation of social workers to give trainees the expertise they need to tackle neglect. We have also given the NSPCC over £11 million to run a comprehensive 24/7 advice and reporting service for those who have concerns about a child, and are developing training materials with the sector to help improve practice in this area.

– Spokeswoman, Department for Education

Families need help early 'to stop child neglect'

Lack of information gathering is putting children's lives at further risk, the chief executive of Action for Children has said, after a report from the charity suggested that around 60% of councils did not have adequate systems in place to give early warning signs over whether youngsters are being neglected.

This is unacceptable when we know more can be done - we cannot allow the suffering of any child. Neglect can be stopped in its tracks.

Families need help as early as possible so they can make positive changes in their lives, transforming their and their children's stories by being the best parents they can be.

– Sir Tony Hawkhead, Action for Children chief executive

Councils 'unaware' of how many children 'neglected'

Many councils do not know how many children in their area are likely to suffer from neglect, according to a charity.

New research by Action for Children suggests that around 60% of local authorities do not have systems in place to collect information that would give early warning signs that youngsters are being neglected.

Councils 'unaware' of how many children 'neglected' in their area Credit: ITV News

Gathering this information can help councils ensure that children and families get help to prevent future problems, the charity said.

Data obtained from 80 English councils through a Freedom of Information request made by Action for Children found 48 (60%) said other than statistics on the number of children known to them through child protection plans, they used no other mechanisms to find out how many youngsters in their area are at risk or experiencing neglect. No London councils were approached as part of the FoI request.

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