Ofsted outgoing chief gives final report

Sir Michael Wilshaw will say today in his final report before stepping down this month that there is an increasing divide between performance across phases and geographically.

He states that throughout the country the vast majority of primary schools are performing well; but the issue lies mainly with secondary schools where there are large areas of the UK where standards are not good enough. For example in Manchester 1 in 3 secondary schools are not at least good and in Liverpool the number is 1 in 2.

Successful recruitment remains a continuing problem and Sir Michael Wilshaw believes the problem lies in talent being attracted away from the North, East, Midlands and coastal towns. He stated that the idea of Northern powerhouses more broadly will only succeed if the level of secondary provision is raised.

He draws a parallel between the sense of malaise and feeling of being cut off from best opportunities which may have been a factor in the referendum decision to vote to leave the EU. The feeling that those in the North, East, Midlands and coastal have may be borne out of a feeling that their youngsters are not being offered the same level of opportunities their London and South counterparts are.

He is staunchly against the reintroduction or expansion of grammar schools and draws upon his own experience in running Mossbourne Community Academy. If the top performing 15-20% of children were taken out of the comprehensive system it would not have allowed his schools to have achieved as highly as they have.

He suggests that the gauntlet is laid down for the Department of Education to raise the profile of the teaching profession and attract more teachers to the profession outside of the main centres of population.

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