Ofsted chief tells of ‘lost standards and ambitions’

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Schools should not be expected to plug all the gaps left by society’s failings, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said yesterday.

He said too many children were still coming to school against a background of “lost standards, values and ambitions”. The impact of social problems such as teenage pregnancy, youth crime and truancy on schools and young people should not be under-estimated, he said.

He announced that Ofsted is to launch a major review looking at the issues facing deprived communities and the best ways to help children in these areas.

In a speech at the National College’s annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, Sir Michael said: “I really do recognise how some schools have to battle against an anti-learning culture within the communities they serve.”

He suggested that working class communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had a “real respect for education”. “We need to bring back ambition to communities that lack aspiration,” he said.