1. ITV Report

Secondary school standards fall in North East

Ofsted's annual report shows 66 per cent of secondary schools in the region are rated as good or outstanding Photo: PA

A third of secondary schools in the North East are not good enough, inspectors have warned, and it is a bigger problem here than in other parts of the country.

Ofsted's annual report shows 66 per cent of secondary schools in the region are rated as good or outstanding. That has fallen from 75 per cent last year, and is significantly behind the national average of 79 per cent.

In Gateshead, just 30 per cent of schools are judged as good or outstanding, while the figure is 50 per cent for Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland.

This summer, the North East had the greatest fall in GCSE pass rates of any region.

While secondary school standards here have consistently lagged behind, the region's primary schools continue to perform well. 91 per cent are rated as good or better, compared to 90 per cent for England as a whole.

Ofsted's new chief inspector Amanda Spielman has warned that disadvantaged pupils should not be used as an excuse for chronically under-achieving schools.

"There is no doubt that the leadership challenge facing some schools is great. But progress is possible and we should all be wary of using the make-up of a school community as an excuse for under-performance. I do find myself frustrated with the culture of 'disadvantage one-upmanship' that has emerged in some places."

– Amanda Spielman - Ofsted chief inspector

Today's report shows 135 schools in England have not recorded a good inspection since 2005.

Five of them are in the North East:

  • Boldon School (secondary), South Tyneside
  • The Oak Tree Academy (primary), Stockton-on-Tees
  • The Blyth Academy (secondary), Northumberland
  • Norton Primary Academy, Stockton-on-Tees
  • St Hild's Church of England School (secondary), Hartlepool

The government responded by saying that, across England, standards are rising in both primary and secondary schools.

"The report recognises the widespread good practice and continual improvement across the system but we know there is more to do to tackle consistent under-performance. "We are targeting the areas that need the most support through our Opportunity Areas and by investing £280 million over the next two years to target resources at the schools most in need to improve school performance and deliver more good school places. Having excellent teachers in our most challenging schools is also key to school improvement, which is why we're investing £75 million in teachers' professional development and announced a further £42 million for training in the Budget."

– Nick Gibb - School Standards Minister

The North Yorkshire Coast is one of 12 Opportunity Areas around the country receiving extra support to help boost social mobility.

The government has so far resisted calls for the North East to be included in the flagship scheme.