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Councillor: "Middlesbrough schools need very fast improvement"

Councillor Brenda Thompson said she accepted Ofsted's report, which said Middlesbrough Council needs to take urgent action to improve opportunities for school pupils.

She said that although the inspection took place at the end of January 2014, it largely reflected a bad set of results the year before, and that the council has made changes this year that should help schools to make progress.

Ofsted inspectors warn Middlesbrough Council to take urgent action over schools

More than half of secondary school pupils in Middlesbrough go to a school rated less than good, according to Ofsted. It says pupils' performance at every stage is below the national average, and children fall further behind the older they get.

Inspectors are warning the authority to take urgent action to improve opportunities for pupils.

Lucy Taylor reports.

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Middlesbrough Council reacts to Ofsted criticism

Middlesbrough Council has released a statement following criticism from Ofsted. An Ofsted inspection was carried out from January 27 to January 31, 2014, during which support was found to be ineffective.

“It is disappointing that Ofsted found the authority’s arrangements for supporting school improvement to be ineffective.

“The need to improve support to schools has already been recognised within the authority, which led to the creation of the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership.

“What is important now is that we continue to implement the improvements we have ourselves recognised through MAP and to incorporate those highlighted by Ofsted.

“The report outlines six areas where swift action is necessary and these have already been made a priority to be acted on."

– Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services

“We are confident that the direction we are taking with our school heads and governors will lead to significant improvement in results for our children.

“Therefore our children can be assured that we remain determined and resolute to give them the best education that we can.

“In recent years, schools in Middlesbrough have achieved a steady increase in standards of attainment.

“Therefore to get the best outcomes possible for the children and young people of Middlesbrough, we recognise the need to increase the pace of improvement in partnership with all schools and academies in the town.”

– Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services

Ofsted on Middlesbrough: 'Urgent action must be taken'

Nick Hudson, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, has spoken of his concern for education in Middlesbrough.

'The poor performance of the authority to ensure all young people receive a good quality education is very concerning. Urgent action must be taken so that pupils are given the opportunities they need to succeed and to improve their life chances.

'Ofsted’s role does not end here; we will continue to work with the council and local schools to help them improve and we will re-inspect the council in the next nine to 12 months to make sure actions have been taken to improve the quality of education for young people.'

– Nick Hudson, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber

Ofsted concern for Middlesbrough schools

A third of pupils overall, and over half of secondary-aged children, attend a school in Middlesbrough that is less than good, says Ofsted.

Ofsted carried out an inspection of Middlesbrough council’s arrangements for school improvement between 27 and 31 January this year. This was in response to concerns about the achievement of pupils in primary and secondary schools and the quality of education for young people in training aged 16-18.

In Middlesbrough, attainment at each key stage remains well below national averages and progress slows as pupils get older. The proportion of school leavers not in education, employment or training is almost twice the national average.

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Full report: Ofsted gives poor marks to some schools

The schools inspector, Ofsted, says children in Northumberland have less chance of going to a good school than in previous years.

It says the situation is unacceptable, and will be of great concern to parents, carers and pupils.

Focussed inspections of 17 schools in the county have resulted in four being put into special measures, including one which had previously been rated as 'Good'.

Ofsted says the downward slide is against the national trend, and must be halted.

Derek Proud reports.

Northumberland County Council: Ofsted response

“This focused inspection of 17 Northumberland schools by Ofsted has raised a number of issues that as an authority we are taking very seriously and working hard to resolve. We are looking at the reports and Ofsted’s recommendations to the council so that we can develop an improvement plan for education in the county.

“We will be working closely with the schools and increasing the levels of support so that together we can quickly improve the situation for the children and young people where it has been found to be inadequate.

“Although Ofsted found an improvement in some of the schools inspected and highlighted a range of strengths in Northumberland, we are now focused on making the tangible improvements required. We’re determined to get this right so that there is a good school for every Northumberland learner.

“A meeting between the local authority, Ofsted and all head teachers in Northumberland is already planned where we expect to agree a way forward.

“Since forming the new administration in the summer the policy board has picked up on some of these concerns and we are taking swift action in the strategic leadership of education and developing a plan of action so improvements can be made.”

– Cllr Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services
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