MPs to consider ‘two nations’ report on standard of schools

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THE Education Select Committee will be holding an evidence session next month to consider the latest annual Ofsted report which warned the nation’s education system was divided, with parents’ chances of sending their child to a good school being dependent on where they lived.

The hearing, which is set to take place in February, will consider the main findings of the report and “the commentary on key themes” by the education watchdog’s Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw.

The deadline for submitting evidence is January 27.

When the report was published last month Sir Michael warned that the story of England’s education system was “a tale of two nations”.

Children from similar backgrounds and of similar abilities can end up with different prospects just because of where they were born and the quality of the school they attended, according to the watchdog’s annual report.

It suggested that there was still a “patchwork of provision”, with some areas performing much better than others. There are disadvantaged areas that provide an excellent education and affluent regions that could do much better”, the report said.

Ofsted also published regional reports for the first time last month which gave an overview of the standards of education in different parts of the country. The report for Yorkshire and the North-East warned that children growing up in Yorkshire were less likely to get a good education than anywhere else in the country.

The Education Select Committee is also planning two other hearings early in the new year.

The committee will hold its final sessions on Wednesday, January 8, as part of its inquiry into Residential children’s homes in England.

Witnesses giving evidence to the committee will include Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children’s Commissioner for England and Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson.

It is also appealing for evidence for a session considering Ofsted’s first ever social care report. The report found that children’s services in England need strong and stable leadership to bring about sustained improvement in the help, care and protection of our most vulnerable young people.

Figures show that of the 17 local authorities judged ‘inadequate’ in the past year, 11 had seen a new director of children’s services recently installed while 12 had undergone another major change in senior leadership of one sort or another.