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Not good enough: Secondary school standards in St Helens falling short
12:11pm Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
THE performance of secondary schools in St Helens is lagging behind those in neighbouring towns and cities, Ofsted inspectors have underlined.
A report shows that just 47 per cent of pupils in the borough attend a secondary school that is ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
And while the performances of primaries are generally strong – 89 per cent of pupils attending good or outstanding schools – there is concern about why the standard of education dips at high schools.
The figure at secondary level is in stark contrast with the percentage of pupils attending good or outstanding schools in Warrington (75 per cent), Liverpool (82 per cent) and Wigan (81 per cent).
In Ofsted’s annual report, Michael Cladingbowl, regional director North West, wrote: “For too many pupils, reaching the age of 11 can mark the end of access to a good education.
“In Blackpool, Salford, Tameside and St Helens, children have less than a one in two chance of attending a good or outstanding secondary school.”
Council leader Barrie Grunewald has made the issue a priority and set up an Education Task Group aimed at driving up standards.
Only Haydock, Rainhill and Cowley were ranked as good schools following the most recent inspections. The town does not have one outstanding school.
Cllr Grunewald said: “Ofsted’s annual report raises a number of issues that our schools are taking very seriously and working hard to resolve.
“I am personally committed to ensuring that the local authority challenges poor performance. Our secondary schools are obviously working hard to replicate the performance of our primary schools, where 89 per cent of pupils attend good or outstanding schools – substantially higher than the national average.
“Yet many of our secondary schools – including Rainford and Haydock Secondary Schools – are already showing considerable improvement.
“So we will be looking closely at Ofsted’s report and will continue to challenge the performance of each of our secondary schools and work with them to ensure they deliver the best possible education.
“The Ofsted report is important and acts as a reminder that we must do more to drive standards up but it does not take account of the fact that our A-level results are good, many children are the first in their families to go to university or that the borough’s apprenticeship scheme is delivering relevant skills to hundreds of young people.”
The Education Task Force will report next year.
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