Disappointment over schools coverage

editorial image

I AM writing to express my disappointment with the Shields Gazette’s coverage of the achievement of our primary schools last week.

The Gazette published a double-page spread, focusing on our Key Stage 2 results.

While these are important, they reflect attainment in a particular test for 11 year-olds at a point in time. In contrast, the cumulative school inspection results reflect the outcome of teams of inspectors taking a long, hard look at all aspects of our schools, including what goes on in classrooms throughout each school. For this, the Gazette produced a relatively small piece.

The Gazette’s coverage therefore appeared to be unbalanced with a tendency to emphasise the negative. In Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector’s report, our primary schools came 9th out of 163 local authorities across England for numbers of children in good or outstanding primary schools.

This is a tremendous result, our highest ever, and reflects a rapid rate of improvement. I am sure Gazette readers would be delighted to know that our primary aged children have such a very high chance of going to a good school – although of course we will never be completely satisfied until all our children go to a good or outstanding school.

The regional version of the Ofsted report cited South Tyneside as being one of only two authorities in the North-East, Yorkshire and Humberside to be in the top 25 per cent of local authorities nationally for good primary and secondary schools.

The Gazette’s article did refer to this, but this is worthy of greater celebration. I feel the small piece does neither our schools, nor our children, justice.

Helen Watson,

Corporate Director Children, Adults & Families,

South Tyneside Council.