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Most local authorities providing good children's services, Ofsted says

10/11/2011 Joanna
Teachers throughout England deserve a pat on the back after a nationwide assessment by Ofsted revealed that the majority of local authorities are providing good or improving children's services.

The education watchdog's 2011 Annual Children's Services Assessment had words of encouragement for local authorities (LAs), with most either maintaining high standards or improving.

Assessing primary, secondary and post-16 education as well as childcare services and adoption and fostering services, the study was published by Ofsted on Tuesday (November 8th).

Some 28 LAs were found to offer 'excellent' services for children, eight more than in last year's assessment.

Overall 25 authorities improved their performance, with eleven of those rising from 'performing adequately' to 'performing well'. Just 15 were deemed to be 'performing poorly'.

Her Majesty’s chief inspector (HMCI), Miriam Rosen, congratulated the high-flying local authorities on their achievements, saying it was encouraging that more LAs are continuing to provide a high standard of service for their children and young people.

"This year's children's services assessments have shown that more authorities have improved their children’s services than declined, and a large majority have sustained their strong performance," she said.

However, seven authorities presided over a decline in the quality of their services, with Ofsted revealing that one reason for this slide was the inconsistency of their services.

The inability of these authorities to close the attainment gap between vulnerable or disadvantaged youngsters and their peers was cited in the report as another reason for their failure.

"The pattern of improvement is still too variable," Ms Rosen commented.

"The challenge now is for all authorities to aspire to provide the highest level of services for all children and young people in their community."

Ofsted identified that those LAs which managed to improve their performance had done so through careful identification of areas of weakness and underperformance.

Meanwhile, the incoming HMCI, Sir Michael Wilshaw, was officially endorsed to succeed Miriam Rosen by the Education Select Committee last week.

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