Chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned that children’s chances of being able to attend a good local school depend on where they live, leading to ‘serious inequalities’.
In Ofsted’s annual report, figures show that in some areas there is a less than 50% chance of children attending a good or outstanding school, compared with over 90% elsewhere, The Independent reports.
Although schools in England are getting better, with 70% of them now rated good or outstanding compared to 64% five years ago, there are stark gaps in standards between local authorities. “That’s why I intend from January to use Ofsted’s new regional structure to inquire further into areas that are performing badly,” Sir Michael said. “We need to find out what is happening and inspect where necessary.”
He warned that more than two million children are victims of a postcode lottery, with primary school children in Coventry, Derby and Thurrock having a less than 50% chance of receiving a good education. Camden in north London is the best performing authority, with 92% of schools classed as good or outstanding.
The report shows that schools in some middle class areas are ‘coasting’, with Kent and the East Ridings of Yorkshire being amongst the worst performers. Although some schools in the most deprived areas were doing well, Sir Michael said that the gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and the rest ‘remains stubbornly wide’.
Further education colleges also came under fire from Sir Michaels, with 13 judged ‘inadequate’ this year, compared with just four previously. David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, defended local authorities: “Councils want to intervene more quickly but decades of giving schools ‘greater freedom’ and ‘protecting’ them from council interference means that local authorities now have very indirect and bureaucratic ways to tackle poor performance.”
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