Ofsted report casts doubt on quality of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough primary schools


Ofsted - Credit: Archant

A report has raised doubts about the standard of primary schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Ofsted’s first ever report reviewing education standards in the East of England region revealed Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are in the bottom 10 per cent of all authorities in England for the proportion of children attending primary schools that are good or better.

Cambridgeshire is ranked tied 135th among local authorities with 67 per cent of pupils attending good or outstanding primary schools, while Peterborough was tied 145th with 60 per cent.

Cambridgeshire’s secondary schools performed better - 78 per cent of pupils attended good or outstanding secondary schools, placing it tied 63th, and the region enjoyed strong A Level results, but Peterborough was 133rd with an alarming 54 per cent.

Last week, Kingsfield Primary School, Chatteris, was put into special measures following an Ofsted report that said pupils lost interest when work was too easy for them and leaders did not check for pupils who were falling behind.

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The report said that teaching was inadequate in some classes because pupils were not given work to match their abilities and added that most children in the school did not make sufficient progress in English and maths.

Leadership and management of schools in the East of England are the worst in the country, the report said.

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Seventy-six per cent of schools are led well, which compares poorly with the national level of 82 per cent and London, where 87 per cent of schools have good or outstanding leadership.

Sean Harford, Ofsted regional director for the East of England, said: “While secondary schools in this region are closing the education gap with national performance, this cannot be said for primary schools.

“The picture for primary aged children is dire.

“Despite the relative affluence of the region, primary school pupils in the East of England have one of the lowest chances of attending a good school in the country.

“Ofsted inspectors will monitor, challenge and support those institutions that are underperforming and we will not walk away until education standards improve in the region.”

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, defended the performance of Cambridgeshire’s schools.

He said: “Schools and the local authority are not complacent. Headteachers and officers from the county council have signed up to ambitious strategies to close attainment gaps and raise standards.

“We are working together on a range of plans to support individual pupils, and to raise standards of leadership. We believe these are already beginning to have an effect.

“We refute the assertion that the picture for primary aged children is ‘dire’. Four Cambridgeshire primary schools have gone from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘good’ this half term alone - too recent for OfSTED to mention in its report.

“Cambridgeshire is also the lowest-funded authority in the country for education (151st out of 151) - this is inevitably going to have an impact on what we can do.

“Cambridgeshire is the fastest growing county in the country, but the Government is not funding this growth, putting additional pressure on schools.

“We have innovative projects in schools, such as working together to raise standards with clusters and teaching schools, linking lower-performing schools with ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools.”

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