Region heads inspectors’ league table of shame for failing schools

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INSPECTORS have rated more schools as failing in Yorkshire and the North East than in any other region of the country, according to damning new figures.

The two regions also had the highest proportion of schools rated less than good at the end of 2012, according to Ofsted.

Barnsley, Hull and Calderdale had the highest proportion of schools in Yorkshire rated as inadequate between October and December last year.

In Barnsley’s case two schools – a third of the six inspected – were found to be failing while in Hull three schools were judged to be inadequate, a quarter of those inspected.

Calderdale saw three of its 13 schools inspected branded inadequate – 23 per cent. The figures released yesterday also show how many schools in the region were given the new inspection category of “requires improvement” which replaced “satisfactory” at the beginning of this academic year.

Ofsted can give one of four ratings: “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate”.

The categories were changed to include “requires improvement” last year to crack down on coasting schools which were consistently being rated as satisfactory.

From now on schools which are found to require improvement are given four years to improve or face intervention.

Ofsted is operating a new regional structure with directors being appointed to drive up standards in each area. Under this system Yorkshire and the North East are classed as one region. Across Yorkshire and the North East 464 schools were inspected between October and December last year.

Of these 78 – 17 per cent – were rated outstanding, another 197 – 42 per cent – were found to be good, 156 were given the new rating of requires improvement – 34 per cent – and 33 – seven per cent – were rated inadequate.

Yorkshire and the North East had the highest proportion of schools in the bottom two Ofsted categories of any of the regions in England.

Across England 26 per cent of schools were found to be outstanding, 44 per cent were rated as good another 27 per cent were said to require improvement and only four per cent were inadequate.

Nationally the statistics also showed more schools improved last term under the tougher new inspection arrangements.

The new figures show that almost half the schools inspected during the last quarter improved their overall effectiveness judgment.

Ofsted said 977 schools, 47 per cent of the 2,102 inspected, had improved from their previous inspection. Chief inspector of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “I believe all children, regardless of where they live, have the right to a good education. In deciding to raise the bar and by stating that ‘good’ is the only acceptable provision, I was convinced that schools would rise to the challenge. And that is what I believe is happening.

“I’m clear that scrapping the satisfactory judgment and replacing it with ‘requires improvement’ is injecting a sense of urgency in both schools and local authorities. Heads and governing boards now have a much greater focus on tackling the central issues of school improvement.

“This is encouraging and I congratulate all those head teachers who are successfully leading the drive to get their school to ‘good’.” Sir Michael said that Ofsted is increasingly helping schools to improve through its new regional structure.

Her Majesty’s Inspectors, led by Ofsted’s new regional directors, are now working with underperforming institutions until they get to good, he said.

He added: “We will not walk away but will, instead, use our knowledge of good practice, locally and nationally, to support and challenge head teachers and governors who are determined to raise standards – but with a clear expectation that action will be taken well within the prescribed period of four years.”

Nick Hudson, a former director of children’s services at Wigan Council, has been appointed regional director for Yorkshire and the North East.