East Riding schools ranked among the lowest

David Carruthers, headteacher at Martongate Primary School.
David Carruthers, headteacher at Martongate Primary School.

A RECENT Government report has ranked the East Riding’s primary schools, including those in Bridlington, among the lowest in the country.

But Bridlington headteachers and a local education chief said the report did not reflect how good local schools actually were and how much they had improved.

The Ofsted schools report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Childrens’ Services and Skills said only 55% of primary school children in the East Riding attended a good or outstanding school during 2011-2012.

This places the local authority area 11th from bottom, with the three worst areas as Thurrock, 49%, Derby, 43% and Coventry, 42%; Camden came top with 92% of pupils attending good-quality primary schools.

The report, published last Tuesday, also states Yorkshire and the Humber is an area of England progressing more slowly than others in terms of grade improvements, compared to areas such as London which have participated in improvement initiatives.

Mike Furbank, head of achievement and inclusion at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “We want parents to judge the school their children attend and the county they live in by the experience their children enjoy in our schools.

“A very small percentage of children go on to become NEET – Not in Employment, Education or Training – which demonstrates the quality of the preparation for adult life in our schools, despite the aggregated Ofsted outcomes referred to in HMCI’s report.

“Results from 2012 in primary schools were strong with the best ever outcomes at both Key Stage 1- which was the best in Yorkshire and Humber, and Key Stage 2 which were 64th nationally.”

He said 57% of all children in the East Riding achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths, and progress onto further education.

“The improvement and learning service will continue to work with schools to actively challenge them to improve and become good. East Riding schools do a wonderful job for the children and families they support,” said Mr Furbank.

Mr Furbank told the Free Press that eight of the recent Ofsted inspections from September 2012 have seen four schools move from satisfactory to good, and one from good to outstanding.

“It should also be noted that there are only two primary schools and one secondary in an Ofsted category in the East Riding which is significantly below the national figures quoted in the report,” he said.

David Carruthers, headteacher at Martongate Primary School, said: “I think what disappointed me is that it doesn’t make it clear that different parts of the country have such differing resources.

“It is also difficult because this is a very new way of ranking local authorities and does include academies.

“Judging local authorities and local schools in this way I think over generalises. I think that we will find that in the East Riding headteachers take their responsibilities very seriously.

“We are all committed to improving the situation.”

Emma Hobbs, headteacher at Bay Primary School, said: “I think it is important to see the East Riding as a whole. We have enjoyed a rate of improvement over the years which would align us with the best schools nationally.

“What I think is important to our community and our area is that we all look at how children are doing now.

“There is a really really positive story to tell about Bridlington schools. In the short space of time since I have been here we are improving rapidly.”

The report is based on findings of almost 25,000 inspections during 2011/2012 of schools, early years and childcare, children and families services, adult learning and colleges.