The chief inspector of schools has said that the failure of state secondary schools to nurture their brightest pupils is ‘an issue of national concern’. Teachers have reacted angrily, saying Ofsted is pandering to Michael Gove.
Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned that thousands of bright children are being let down by non-selective secondary schools in England, the BBC reports. They are failing to achieve top GCSE grades because of a culture of low expectations and Sir Michael recommends streaming or setting pupils from the start of secondary education.
The new report from Ofsted found that more than a quarter of previously high-attaining students had failed to achieve at least a B in English and maths GCSEs and that staff in some schools did not even know who their most able pupils were.
It found that in 40% of schools visited by inspectors the brightest pupils were failing to make the progress they were capable of. Expectations of them in the first year of secondary school were too low: “They tread water. They mark time. They do stuff they’ve already done in primary school. They find work too easy and they are not being sufficiently challenged,” Sir Michael said.
Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, accused Ofsted of providing misleading, unhelpful and ‘outrageous’ conclusions, based on data from only 41 secondary schools out of a total of 4,400, The Guardian reports. She questioned Ofsted’s impartiality, claiming that it ‘has been sucked into becoming a glove puppet of the secretary of state for education’, and added: “We are not saying that there is not room for improvement, but teachers are working extremely hard to help children of every ability and have very high aspirations. It is nothing short of scandalous that even as young people are going into school this week to take exams they have been told they are worthless and now they are being told that their teachers have failed them.”
Do you think comprehensive schools are failing their brightest students, or are Ofsted’s findings misleading?