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Cornish Schools Buck the Trend

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4:08pm 10th December 2014

85% percent of primary schools and 86% of secondary schools in Cornwall have been rated good or outstanding.

According to a yearly report from Ofsted, only two in the Duchy are classed as inadequate.

But the watchdog says the results for the whole of the south-west are inconsistent.

The region has the least number of pupils going on to higher education.

Ofsted Report - Key Findings:

The South West is a region of inconsistencies. Although inspection outcomes and attainment for the region are in line with national levels, there is a wide variation in the quality of provision across local authority areas.

There is no room for complacency. Almost one in four secondary schools pupils (over 68,000) attend schools that are not yet good. Primary schools fare better, but some 16% of primary-age pupils (over 61,000) still do not attend a good or outstanding primary school.

Children who receive free school meals are not well served in the South West. A low-income family with children aged three, seven, 11 and 16 would not be able to find a high-performing local authority area where children do well across all age groups.  In 2013, of the 6000 pupils eligible for free school meals, almost 4000 did not achieve 5 or more good GCSEs including English and maths.

No authority in the South West is in the top 25% in England for the proportion of pupils making expected progress between Key Stages 1 and 2 in reading, writing or maths or Key Stages 2 to 4 in maths.

Only 12 per cent of looked after children gained five GCSE passes at C or above including English and mathematics - the second-worst performance of all the regions.      

The percentage of young people from the South West progressing to higher education is the lowest of any region and is particularly low for care leavers. The proportion of young people aged 19 who were looked after at 16 years old and were not in employment, education or training in 2013 was 41% in the South West.

Weak middle leadership and governance is an issue in some schools, and hindered improvement in many of those that had had not improved their inspection grade on re-inspection in 2013-14.  

Across the region inspectors found few examples of sustained improvement. Relatively few good schools go on to become outstanding - indeed, some decline. More must be done to combat the complacency in these schools and local authority areas so that standards are maintained, progressed, and achievement driven up.

School-to-school support is key. There are still too many outstanding schools where expertise is not used sufficiently to contribute effectively to school-to-school improvement. The region is also not well served by the number and distribution of national leaders in education.

Bradley Simmons, Ofsted's Regional Director for the South West said: "Schools in the South West continue to stand up well nationally on inspection outcomes and pupil attainment.  This is a mark of the hard work and determination of teachers and leaders in many schools across the region. A number of schools inspected last year have shown rapid progress from requires improvement to good, which is encouraging.

"However, concerns remain about the quality of education in the South West when so many pupils from low income families are underachieving. This group is not well-served in any local authority area, across both primary and secondary schools. Too many 11 year olds from low income families will not gain the expected level in reading, writing and maths, and this group are also less likely to achieve five good GCSEs.

"Moreover, children in care are also doing less well than those in other parts of the country. Only 12 per cent gained five good GCSEs- the second-worst performance of all the regions. This is unacceptable.      

"Tackling the achievement gap between the pupils on free school meals and their more affluent peers will continue to be a priority for Ofsted in the coming year. We will be working hard with councils and schools to help raise the proportion of good and outstanding schools, and to raise the achievement of pupils at every stage, including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged."

Read the full report here.

4:08pm 10th December 2014

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