12/12/2013 - Permalink

Shropshire schools make good progress

Related topics: Uncategorized

Shropshire schools have made substantial progress in the percentage judged to be good or outstanding, placing the county above national and regional averages for the rate of improvement, a new report has outlined.

Ofsted published its most recent Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector on Wednesday 11 December 2013.  The report covers Ofsted inspections of schools up to the end of the last school year, to August 2013. 

Shropshire is amongst the group of local authorities which have made good progress since last year’s report, with a 15 per cent jump in the percentage of schools judged good or outstanding, compared with eight per cent nationally and 11 per cent across the West Midlands.

In particular, this year’s figures show that there had been a 17 per cent improvement in the primary school ratings by the end of August. 

They showed overall that 74 per cent of primary and secondary pupils in Shropshire attend good or outstanding schools.

In fact, Shropshire’s figures updated to December 2013 demonstrate even more significant improvement for primary schools, with 75 per cent now judged good or outstanding (compared to 53 per cent in August 2012) and 78 per cent of pupils attending good or outstanding primary schools (compared to 59 per cent in August 2012).

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services – transformation and safeguarding, said:

“These improvements are great for Shropshire.  They reflect the hard work of Shropshire schools, pupils, their families, councillors, council staff and our wider school communities.

“The results more closely match data showing that the majority of pupils in Shropshire’s schools do well, with results at the end of infant, primary and secondary phases all being above the national average. 

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who has played a part in improving school Ofsted ratings, and thank them for their dedication.”

To improve ratings, headteachers and governors have looked carefully at how they track children’s progress, and concentrated on developing good quality teaching across the whole school. 

They have been supported in this by a council programme for headteachers, senior leaders and governors.  Shropshire Council has also hosted sessions for schools led by regional members of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. 

There has been a focus throughout on supporting disadvantaged pupils, including those receiving additional funding through the pupil premium.  This is because, as the report identifies, disadvantaged children have not always in the past done as well as they should have in Shropshire. 

The gap was widest amongst 16-year-olds in their GCSE results in 2012, and has narrowed significantly in 2013, from 12 per cent greater than the national gap in 2012 to only three per cent in 2013. 

Across almost 40 inspections during the summer and autumn terms, all except one (where there were no eligible pupils) identified effective or very effective use of the additional pupil premium funding. 

Ann Hartley added:

“Again this is testament to the commitment and hard work of schools, but also the work of councillors who focused on this through a task and finish group.  Council advisers have also been challenging schools about the use of the funding and the progress of disadvantaged children.

“Since these initiatives have been in place, it is good to see schools report that they feel more confident and able to ‘tell their story’ during an inspection, because they have drawn together their own evidence more effectively.”