South Tyneside schools beat national average for ‘Outstanding’ ratings
But outside the top performing bracket, they are also less likely to be given Ofsted’s second highest rating of ‘Good’.
And the borough is also higher than the national average for the number of schools being marked ‘Requires Improvement’.
Education bosses have insisted however the figures show strong performance, with combined data for all the schools in South Tyneside, primary and secondary, showing 85% have been designated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.
“I want to report a positive picture, in terms of all test and exams across all key stages,” said Beverley Scanlon, the council’s head of Learning and Early Help.
“Of the Ofsted inspections we’ve had in the last academic year, the number of our primary schools which are ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ is 88.9% and the number of secondary schools is 66.7%.”
There are currently 49 primary and nine secondary schools in South Tyneside, as well as four special needs schools.
In January, South Tyneside Council agreed to shut down South Shields School in August 2020, the end of the next academic year.
This decision followed the school’s failure to become an academy after being told to do so by the regional schools commissioner, following an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating from inspectors in 2017.
According to a report for today’s meeting of the council’s People Select Committee, a third of the borough’s secondary schools are rated ‘Outstanding’, compared to a national average of 23.9% and North East average of 20.3%.
And about a quarter of South Tyneside’s primary schools also have the top rating, compared to a national average of 18.7% and North East average of 22.6%.
In reading, writing and maths, pupils in the borough are either level with or slightly exceeding national averages in key stage two, three and four.
Coun James Foreman questioned how the council’s education team keeps track of the performance of home educated youngsters and was assured ‘most home educated families’ maintain links with the authority, although their number is growing.
Coun John McCabe, the committee’s chairman raised concerns about government plans to begin testing four-year-olds.
He said; “Just one downer for me is that the Conservative government intends to bring in mandatory testing for children aged four years old.
“Everything I’ve read about this says it is not a good thing to do and I’m raising this because we, as a committee, need to look at that in depth – it’s a frighteningly bad step.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service