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English school performance 'improving, but not world-class'

02/12/2016 Joanna

A new report from Ofsted has highlighted the recent improvements achieved by England's schools network, while also underlining the need for further progress.

In his final annual report as chief inspector of Ofsted before stepping down at the end of the month, Sir Michael Wilshaw said "remarkable gains" have been made over the last five years, but also added that performance remains below the world-class level to which the country should aspire.

For the sixth year in a row, the proportion of good and outstanding nurseries and pre-schools has risen and now stands at 91 per cent, with the gap in performance between the most and least deprived areas of the country narrowing to negligible levels.

Meanwhile, the proportion of good and outstanding primary schools has risen from 69 per cent to 90 per cent in five years, while the reading ability of pupils eligible for free school meals at age seven in 2015 was six percentage points closer to the level of their peers than it was half a decade ago.

Additionally, 78 per cent of secondary schools are now considered to be good or outstanding, but in this area the levels of inequality are more of a pressing issue, as facilities in the north and Midlands are still lagging behind the rest of the country.

This may be because of the continued pressure on the supply of secondary teachers, which has not abated despite recent efforts. The Ofsted report showed that 15 of the 18 curriculum subjects had unfilled training places this year, showing progress still needs to be made on this front.

Sir Michael said: "My advice to government is to worry less about structures and more about capacity. No structure will be effective if the leadership is poor or there are not enough good people in the classroom."

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