Greater Manchester schoolchildren at mercy of ‘postcode lottery

Ofsted’s annual report revealed mixed fortunes for primaries and secondaries across Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester schoolchildren are at the mercy of a ‘postcode lottery’ that hits poor pupils the hardest, Ofsted has warned.

The inspectorate’s latest annual report puts Trafford joint third in the country for good and outstanding primary provision.

Some 96 per cent of children in the borough go to primaries with one of those two top ratings.

Yet Oldham and Tameside are joint 91st out of 150 local authorities in England – with one in five children at a primary that is either ‘inadequate’ or requiring improvement.

At secondary level 91 per cent of Trafford children are at a good or outstanding school, equal 20th in England, along with Bury.

But the Oldham the figure is 36 per cent, a huge drop on last year’s 47 per cent – placing it fourth from bottom nationally.

While Ofsted’s latest rundown says standards are generally getting better across the north west, regional director Jo Morgan said: “The quality of provision for too many children remains a postcode lottery. There is simply too much variation across the region and the quality of education in secondary schools continues to lag behind primary.”

She added: “These shortcomings are hitting the region’s poorest and most disadvantaged children the hardest. White British young people from poor families are particularly getting a raw deal.”

Trafford has long scored well in educational league tables but the latest figures show even more children than last year are at good or outstanding schools.

Council leader Sean Anstee said: “The council is very proud of the achievements of each of our schools and recognises the hard work and commitment of all involved.

Percentage of primary pupils attending good or outstanding primary schools by borough

TraffordStockportWiganManchesterBoltonBurySalfordRochdaleOldhamTamesideBorough0102030405060708090100Percentage

Ofsted

“Our pupils are able to benefit from outstanding schools from primary age through to secondary, giving our young people the best start in life.”

Oldham not only scored badly in the new league table but came in for specific criticism for pupil behaviour, with Ofsted considering 42 per cent of its secondaries to have a problem.

The council’s cabinet member for education, Coun Amanda Chadderton, said the findings were ‘no surprise’. It follows the launch of Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC) in June to look at children’s progress, led by former education secretary Estelle Morris.

Coun Chadderton added: “We’re very clear that education is failing too many children in Oldham – and we are being proactive to identify and tackle the causes.

“We are holding the mirror up to ourselves in Oldham in an unprecedented way with the council, schools, employers and partners all signed up to a genuine process of challenge that will be uncomfortable for some.

Percentage of primary pupils attending good or outstanding secondary schools by borough

BuryTraffordRochdaleStockportWiganManchesterBoltonSalfordTamesideOldhamBorough0102030405060708090100Percentage

Ofsted

“I want to be very clear about failing schools. They should be in no doubt that where performance is not good enough, we will act. We will intervene and we will hold them to account. We will leave no stone unturned in our work to raise standards and aspiration.”

In Manchester 88 per cent of pupils go to primary schools in the top two rating bands, placing the city joint-30th in the country. Some 64 per cent of Manchester secondaries are good or outstanding, giving the city a ranking of joint 116th.

For primaries, Stockport, 93 per cent, is ranked equal 9th; Wigan, 88 per cent, is ranked equal 30th; Bolton, 87 per cent, equal 35th; Bury and Salford 84 per cent, joint 60th; Rochdale, 83 per cent, joint 68th; and Oldham and Tameside, 80 per cent, joint 81st.

For secondaries, Rochdale, 85 per cent, is ranked equal 37th; Stockport, 82 per cent, joint 52nd; Wigan 77 per cent, joint 67th; Bolton, 64 per cent, joint 116th; Salford 59 per cent, joint 121st; and Tameside, 49 per cent, joint 138th.

Trafford leads the way for outstanding schools – with HALF of secondaries and primaries in the top band

School pupils in Trafford are more likely to be at an outstanding school than almost anywhere else in the country.

New Ofsted figures show that nearly HALF of all primary and secondary schools in the borough are in the top rating band, compared with a national average of 19.6 per cent of schools.

Across Trafford, 46 of 93 schools – or 49.5 per cent – were given an outstanding rating overall at their most recent inspection.

Only two places in England – Kensington and Chelsea (59.5 per cent), and Harrow (51.7 per cent) – fare better.

Stockport (31.9 per cent) also makes the top 20, while Wigan (24.6 per cent), Rochdale (23.3 per cent), Bolton (21.4 per cent), Oldham (20.8 per cent) and Manchester (20.5 per cent) all have more outstanding schools than the national average.

The picture is less rosy elsewhere in Greater Manchester. In Bury, only 16.7 per cent of schools are currently rated outstanding for their overall effectiveness, while in Salford the figure is 13.1 per cent.

In Tameside, only nine of the 95 inspected schools – 9.5 per cent – are considered outstanding, one of the lowest proportions in England.

Tameside council’s executive member for schools, Coun Gerald Cooney, said: “We’ve progressed very strongly in terms of ‘good’ ratings.

“If you look at where we’ve come from, to where we are now, we’re better than a lot of other areas. We have some outstanding schools and of course we’d like some more.

“But this isn’t about competing with other boroughs. It’s about improving our schools. All our schools will be ‘good’ by 2016. And some that are good now could become ‘outstanding’.”

The figures, released by Ofsted this week, show the results of inspections carried out at more than 20,000 schools.

Across England, 4,146 of 21,197 schools – 19.6 per cent – are currently rated ‘outstanding’. Some 12,948 (61.1 per cent) are ‘good’, 3,529 (16.6 per cent) ‘require improvement’, and 574 (2.7 per cent) are ‘inadequate’.

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