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Tens of thousands of students now at 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.

Poor behaviour from pupils is one of the main points of concern, with the watchdog's chief inspector claiming that too many secondaries were dealing with a "hubbub" of gossip, shouting out, students using their phones and other disruptions - which often make teaching almost impossible.

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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.

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