Some Cambridgeshire academy schools in danger of failing a generation of students warns county’s most senior education official

Cambridgeshire County Council official Adrian Loades.

Cambridgeshire County Council official Adrian Loades. - Credit: Archant

Some academies are in danger of failing a generation of Cambridgeshire students, says the county’s most senior director of education.

Adrian Loades, executive director for children, families and adult services, said that “far too many schools are not good. Recent inspection outcomes have represented deterioration in the overall position.

“This position cannot be considered to be acceptable to anyone.”

He says just 50.9 per cent of young people in Cambridgeshire attend secondary schools that are graded good or better.

With all bar one of the county’s secondary schools now an academy, Mr Loades believes the general position has been of “relative decline. This has significant implication for young people and the county more generally.”

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In March, Mr Loades told Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner for the east, that “too many young people are not achieving their potential, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

A response from Mr Coulson says that while funding has been an issue insufficient attention has been paid to other areas.

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Mr Coulson said he shared Mr Loades’ concerns about the state of secondary education in the county and set out five areas where he felt improvement should be targeted.

They included encouraging good schools to have a wider impact, taking sharp action against under performing schools and encouraging under performing academies to join multi-academy trusts to gain access to support.

He said: “Of the 30 secondary academies in Cambridgeshire, I or my colleagues have since September visited 27 of these schools. I have met with the Cambridgeshire secondary heads group; I have met with the chairs and heads of secondary schools, and have set up a meeting for chairs of all the secondary academy trusts in the county later this month.

“We have arranged for visits by education experts to 13 of the secondary academies and are monitoring all schools that have not yet reached good.”

Mr Coulson also said that the focus had been placed on securing more funding for secondary schools in Cambridgeshire in recent months while pupil standards had been given “insufficient attention”.

He said: “It appears that the conversation in recent times about schools has been dominated about levels of funding rather than pupil standards. Whilst of course this is important……………there has been insufficient attention to the external support and challenge schools need to make progress.”

Mr Loades is keen to emphasis it is not all doom and gloom and has emphasised examples “of very high quality secondary education in Cambridgeshire”. He also believes the county has some outstanding schools and teachers.

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