Education watchdog Ofsted brands Leeds primary schools as “weak”

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THE PERFORMANCE of Leeds primary schools has been described as “weak” and “inexcusable” by standards watchdog Ofsted.

The criticism was included in a letter from Nick Hudson, Ofsted’s regional director for Yorkshire, to Leeds City Council demanding it set out plans to improve standards.

But the council has criticised Ofsted for failing to recognise the achievements of Leeds primary schools.

The Ofsted letter, seen by the YEP, followed primary school tests showing children in Leeds performed below the national average in reading, writing, maths and science.

It says: “However one compares outcomes for pupils’ attainment at key stages one and two in Leeds, its performance, whether against national or regional figures, is weak.

“This is frankly inexcusable.”

Coun Andrew Carter, leader of the opposition Conservative group on the council, criticised the authority for not making the letter public and accused the Labour administration of trying to “bury bad news”.

He said: “This sort of bad news never gets any better for being kept quiet.

“However the worst part of all this is the council is failing another generation.

“We have to make sure they are properly equipped for the rest of their education and indeed their working life to follow.”

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families, said: “We were very surprised and concerned to receive this highly unusual letter, which was not sent to us in line with the usual professional protocols we would expect.

“We understand that other local authorities in Yorkshire have received remarkably similarly phrased letters.”

Coun Yeadon said nine out of every 10 Leeds primary pupils are in a school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

She added: “Although we are disappointed that Ofsted has chosen not to recognise these achievements, we take the issues raised in the letter very seriously and are taking action to respond to them fully and appropriately.”