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Schools improving in Middlesbrough, Ofsted says

27/05/2015 Joanna
Schools in Middlesbrough have improved and are being well supported and challenged by the local authority, according to a new Ofsted report.

The education inspectorate judged school support in Middlesbrough to be ineffective in January 2014, but the council has since taken large steps to ensure pupils in the borough receive a better education.

New programmes such as the School Effectiveness Strategy have strengthened the arrangements for improvement. This has led to headteachers and other school leaders engaging with the local authority and meeting regularly to discuss best practice in the classroom.

Attainment levels have also improved, the report shows, with primary school pupils in the area doing better than before and the gap between wealthier and disadvantaged youngsters narrowing.

The pace of improvement is also accelerating in Middlesbrough's secondary schools, although there is still room for progress in some subjects.

Nick Hudson, Ofsted director for North East, Yorkshire and Humber, said: "Pupils are on the whole doing better at primary school while improvement rates in the borough’s secondary schools are greater than the national average, for poorer pupils as well as their wealthier peers. That is what parents and pupils want and deserve."

On a wider scale, the inspectors found that education is an integral part of the council's strategy to enhance the economy of Middlesbrough.

There has been a significant fall in the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training, and the figure is now in line with the national average.

However, more needs to be done to raise pupil attainment across all years, while the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their wealthier counterparts could also be reduced further.

In addition, the main driver for improvement, the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership, is not as widely understood by school leaders as it could be, the inspectors found.

Ofsted spoke to councillors, local authority officials, headteachers and governors, and took into account the council's strategy for school effectiveness, school performance data and case studies. 

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