‘Urgent action must be taken to halt decline in school performance and improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils’, warns Ofsted of Cambridgeshire schools

Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook. Photo : Steve Adams

Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Urgent action is needed to halt a decline in Cambridgeshire schools, Ofsted has warned.

Andrew Cook, regional director for the East of England, said the top-rated schools in the county could see their Ofsted grades fall if the performance of their disadvantaged pupils does not improve.

He said the situation was “already bleak”, with the proportion of “good” or “outstanding” high schools already at 53 per cent - the lowest in the East of England, and “well below” the national average of 76 per cent.

He added that inspections since September 2015 revealed a marked decline in the quality of education in primary schools, with 79 per cent rated “good” or better by the end of February - seven percentage points below the national average.

Mr Cook said: “Urgent action must be taken to halt the decline in school performance and to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

“While the local authority and regional schools commissioner have taken some steps to address these issues, this has so far had limited impact.

“A culture of high expectations across all phases of education must eradicate under-performance.”

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The letter added that all but one secondary school in the county is now an academy, and said he looked to Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner, who oversees academies, to challenge academies and academy chains.

However, he noted that only one warning notice, and three pre-warning notices, were issued between January 8 2014 and March 27 2015.

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