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Ofsted seeks to address Medway school failings

01/07/2013 Kelly
The education watchdog has been investigating how primary schools in one part of Kent can do more to support their staff in teaching jobs in raising pupil attainment.

Last Tuesday (25th June), Ofsted began a week of coordinated inspections into education in Medway, consisting of ten focused school inspections, as well as telephone surveys of a number of other schools in the area.

According to its latest data, collated at the end of April, 8,000 pupils in Medway were attending one of 29 primary schools in the area rated as less than good during their last inspection.

Two out of five primaries in Medway have therefore been deemed to require improvement or to be inadequate, which compares poorly to the standard of primary schools in England more generally.

Medway secondary schools have fared better in Ofsted inspections, with 12 out of 15 visited since September 2012 having been given a good rating or better.

Yet while 61 per cent of pupils in the district taking their GCSEs in 2012 passed at least five of them - including in English and maths - with a grade C or higher, this was only the case for 34 per cent of children eligible for free school meals.

Ofsted's regional director for the south-east Matthew Coffey commented: "All parents should have the same chance of sending their children to a good or better school but in Medway the chance of being able to do so is much lower than in other parts of the country, especially when considering primary school provision."

In addition to shedding light on the performance of individual schools, inspectors also hope to gain an impression of the quality of external support and direction provided by Medway Council.

Should this be considered inadequate, Ofsted could subsequently inspect the local authority's school improvement function too.

Last month, Ofsted published a report, 'Unseen children', arguing that schools in less densely populated, more rural parts of the country are letting down their poorer pupils, particularly in the south-east and East of England.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801606575-ADNFCR
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