Secondary school Standards slip in the North and Midlands

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, has published his fourth annual report on the state of the education sector in England.

Primary school standards continue to rise with 85% of schools being rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ a rise of 3% from the previous year. There is an increasing gap between the performance of secondary and primary schools despite an increase in performance nationally across the secondary sector.

Nationally 74% of secondary schools are ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ but the proportion of those schools skews when viewed geographically. In the South 79% of secondary schools are ‘good’ or better; in the North and the Midlands 68% meet the same threshold. The performance of the schools stretches beyond the inspection ratings they receive; secondary school children in the South achieve better grades and better progress in English and Maths than their Northern/Central counterparts.

Sir Michael said of this report and the divide that: –

“We have to ask whether this level of failure is being effectively challenged by local politicians and school leaders, and whether the relatively successful big cities in the North and Midlands are playing their part in supporting their neighbouring towns.”

“If Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and Newcastle are to be engine rooms of a Northern powerhouse, one of their priorities must be working with the towns on their borders to raise attainment and close skills gaps across a wider area.”

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