New teacher generation needed to improve region’s poor schools

THE director of the education watchdog in Yorkshire has claimed the region needs more outstanding headteachers in challenging areas to help improve the number of good schools.

Picture: PA Wire

Nick Hudson told The Yorkshire Post that the region was attracting more good school leaders, but the process was not happening fast enough. He maintained this was one of the factors in Yorkshire having more pupils going to schools that are rated as being not good enough than anywhere else in the country.

Mr Hudson, the Ofsted regional director for Yorkshire and the North East, also warned a greater effort is needed to ensure adequate numbers of high-quality newly-qualified teachers came into the profession, particularly for schools in the most challenging circumstances.

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He said: “While there has been some improvement in the region, much remains to be done.”

Mr Hudson pointed to North Tyneside and Rotherham as examples of areas with high
numbers of good schools which other districts could learn from. But he admitted Rotherham’s secondary schools were performing more strongly than its primaries, which was at odds with
both the national and regional picture.

Another issued highlighted in the Ofsted regional report was the performance of the 200,000 pupils from poor homes in Yorkshire and the North East,
warning students from more deprived backgrounds typically do badly from early years to the age of 19.

The report said “huge gaps
of 30 per cent or more” have emerged in parts of the region in the levels of pupils from poorer homes getting five good GCSEs, including English and maths, compared to their wealthier classmates.

Mr Hudson’s comments come after Ofsted’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned last week of a teacher shortage with the weakest schools most likely to miss out as top candidates are “cherry-picked” by the best.

In a speech introducing his third annual report, Sir Michael claimed not enough new teachers are joining the profession and the good entrants are often not going where they are most needed.

Teacher recruitment is a pressing issue with thousands more teachers needed over the next decade to educate the almost a million more children due to be attending the nation’s schools, he claimed.

The number of entrants into teacher training has dropped by 17 per cent in the last four
years, with large shortfalls
in key subjects such as maths and physics. There are 8,000 fewer trainees in secondary schools since 2009/2010, figures
show.

Ofsted’s findings for Yorkshire also revealed that poor performance of secondary schools was the region’s biggest problem. Inspectors can give schools one of four inspection grades – outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

A third of pupils in Yorkshire and the North East go to secondary schools that are less than good – worse than anywhere else in England. While the number of good schools is increasing in Yorkshire, the region continues to lag behind the rest of the nation.