Home news Ofsted warns schools against 'disadvantage one-upmanship'

Ofsted warns schools against 'disadvantage one-upmanship'

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Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman has warned that underperforming schools can get caught in a culture of “disadvantage one-upmanship”, where schools focus too much on their pupils’ deprivation.She likened it to a Monty Python comedy sketch where people compete with claims to have had the toughest childhood.Ms Spielman was presenting her annual report, which highlighted a small core of persistently underachieving schools.But she said disadvantage was not an excuse for low achievement.The Ofsted chief suggested schools seemed sometimes to be competing over how many pupils were on free school meals or how many did not speak English as a first language. Teacher ‘burnout'”I think people become absorbed by this narrative,” said Ms Spielman at the launch of the annual report from England’s education watchdog. “They’ve got big and daunting challenges, but we want to encourage people to look past them. We want them to focus on what can be done.”She likened it to the Four Yorkshiremen comedy sketch performed by Monty Python, where characters make increasingly exaggerated claims about hardship when they were growing up.

The report highlighted schools from this year’s round of inspections which had repeatedly failed to improve, with around 80 primary and 50 secondary schools below the level of “good” in inspections since 2005.There are also about about 500 primary and 200 secondary schools which have been rated as requiring improvement on their previous two inspections.These struggling schools were most likely to be in disadvantaged areas with a high proportion of poor white pupils, to have a high turnover of staff, and heads and teachers facing “burnout”.But Ms Spielman said that there were thousands of other schools facing similar challenges which were performing much better.Teacher recruitmentThe annual report shows that overall 90% of all primary schools and 79% of secondary schools are rated good or outstanding.Although outstanding schools are no longer routinely inspected – and almost one in 10 have not been inspected in the past 10 years.But the Ofsted chief said against a positive backdrop it would still be wrong to “turn a blind eye” to weaknesses.She warned of an ongoing problem with unregistered religious schools which were operating illegally and which could be teaching extremist views and seeking to “isolate young people from the mainstream”.

Ofsted has warned for several years of children being taught in squalid conditions with inadequate lessons.Ms Spielman called for stronger rights for inspectors to intervene and seize evidence, such as books or documentation.She warned of such schools promoting sexist or homophobic views.Life sentenceMs Spielman’s report also raised particular concerns about education standards in young offenders institutions, which she said could be “extremely poor”.”Without access to a proper, decent learning and training we are passing de facto life sentences on young offenders,” she said. Responding to concerns about schools which seemed to have “intractable” difficulties in improving, heads’ leader Geoff Barton said Ofsted could be part of the problem.When schools were “stigmatised” by bad Ofsted reports, recruiting staff and pupils became more difficult and schools could be “trapped in cycles of underperformance”, said Mr Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union.He said the problem was exacerbated by a “teacher recruitment and retention crisis” and the “underfunding of schools”.Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the high performance of so many schools was “all the more remarkable against the backdrop of austerity and all the added pressures that brings”.Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “The fact that under the Tories schools have consistently struggled to improve, have struggled to recruit staff and had high levels of turnover should come as a wake-up call.”A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We are targeting the areas that need the most support through our opportunity areas. “And by investing £280m over the next two years to target resources at the schools most in need to improve school performance and deliver more good school places.” Schools that have received Ofsted ratings below ‘good’ in inspections since 2005Schools consistently ‘less than good’
Local area
Cavendish Close Junior School
Derby
Ironville and Codnor Park Primary School
Derbyshire
Somerlea Park Junior School
Derbyshire
Langley Mill Junior School
Derbyshire
Pinxton Kirkstead Junior School
Derbyshire
Linton Primary School
Derbyshire
Howitt Primary Community School
Derbyshire
Tupton Hall School
Derbyshire
Whittington Green School
Derbyshire
The Ripley Academy
Derbyshire

The Grove Primary School
Leicestershire
St Paul’s Community Primary and Nursery School, Spalding
Lincolnshire
The Gainsborough Academy
Lincolnshire
Alfred Street Junior School, Rushden
Northamptonshire
Exeter – A Learning Community Academy
Northamptonshire
St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy, Burton Latimer
Northamptonshire
Olympic Primary School
Northamptonshire
Kettering Science Academy
Northamptonshire
Weston Favell Academy
Northamptonshire
Lodge Park Academy
Northamptonshire
Kingswood Secondary Academy
Northamptonshire
Wrenn School
Northamptonshire

Hillocks Primary and Nursery School
Nottinghamshire
Coleridge Community College
Cambridgeshire
Ernulf Academy
Cambridgeshire
Potter Street Academy
Essex
Southminster Church of England (Controlled) Primary School
Essex
Bedmond Village Primary and Nursery School
Hertfordshire
The Cavendish School
Hertfordshire
Diss Church Junior School
Norfolk
Cliff Park Junior School
Norfolk
The Norman Church of England Primary School, Northwold
Norfolk
King’s Lynn Academy
Norfolk
Gusford Community Primary School
Suffolk
Sanders School
Havering
The Brittons Academy Trust
Havering
Bower Park Academy
Havering

Prendergast Ladywell School
Lewisham
The Royal Docks Community School
Newham
St Hild’s Church of England Voluntary Aided School
Hartlepool
The Blyth Academy
Northumberland
Boldon School
South Tyneside

Norton Primary Academy
Stockton-on-Tees
St Antony’s RC Primary School
Blackburn with Darwen
Smithills School
Bolton
University of Chester CE Academy
Cheshire West and Chester
Newman Catholic School
Cumbria
Kirkby High School
Knowsley
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Lancaster
Lancashire
Heysham High School Sports College
Lancashire
Corpus Christi Catholic High School
Lancashire
Fulwood Academy
Lancashire
Moston Fields Primary School
Manchester
The Sutton Academy
St Helens
New Charter Academy
Tameside
University Academy Warrington
Warrington
Lowton Church of England High School
Wigan
The Aylesbury Vale Academy
Buckinghamshire
Peel Common Junior School
Hampshire
Fernhill Primary School
Hampshire
Newtown Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School
Hampshire
All Saints Church of England Primary School, Freshwater
Isle of Wight
Tree Tops Primary Academy
Kent

Milton Court Primary Academy
Kent
St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School, Margate
Kent
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey
Kent
High Weald Academy
Kent
Featherby Junior School
Medway
Kingfisher Community Primary School
Medway
The Robert Napier School
Medway
Battle Primary Academy
Reading

St Matthew’s CofE Primary School
Surrey
Henbury Court Primary Academy
Bristol
The Kingfisher School
Bristol
Bream Church of England Primary School
Gloucestershire
Picklenash Junior School
Gloucestershire
All Saints Church of England Academy
Plymouth
Manor Court Community Primary School
Somerset

The Taunton Academy
Somerset
Oasis Academy Longmeadow
Wiltshire
St Mary and St John Junior and Infant School
Birmingham
Chilwell Croft Academy
Birmingham
Oasis Academy Blakenhale Junior
Birmingham
Four Dwellings Primary Academy
Birmingham
Hawkesley Church Primary Academy
Birmingham
Yarnfield Primary School
Birmingham

Albert Bradbeer Primary Academy
Birmingham
Wallbrook Primary School
Dudley
Broadlands Primary School
Herefordshire
St Martin’s Primary School
Herefordshire
Cheswardine Primary and Nursery School
Shropshire
Grange Primary
Shropshire
Bird’s Bush Primary School
Staffordshire
Staffordshire University Academy
Staffordshire
Willenhall E-ACT Academy
Walsall
Kingsway Community Primary School
Warwickshire
St Alban’s Church of England Primary School
Wolverhampton
Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary Academy & Nursery
Wolverhampton
South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy
Wolverhampton
The Dearne Advanced Learning Centre
Barnsley
Knowleswood Primary School
Bradford
Merlin Top Primary Academy
Bradford
Dixons Allerton Academy
Bradford
St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Todmorden
Calderdale
Mount Pellon Primary Academy
Calderdale
Sowerby Bridge High School
Calderdale
Stirling Primary School
Doncaster
Pheasant Bank Academy
Doncaster
Armthorpe Academy
Doncaster
Balby Carr Community Academy
Doncaster
Winifred Holtby Academy
Kingston upon Hull
Healey Junior Infant and Nursery School
Kirklees
Pudsey Tyersal Primary School
Leeds
Cottingley Primary Academy
Leeds
South Leeds Academy
Leeds
Leeds East Academy
Leeds
The Co-operative Academy of Leeds
Leeds
West Melton Junior and Infant School
Rotherham

Westfield School
Sheffield
Sheffield Springs Academy
Sheffield
South Elmsall Carlton Junior and Infant School
Wakefield
Castleford Park Junior Academy
Wakefield
St Helen’s CE Primary School
Wakefield
New Earswick Primary School
York

Source: Ofsted

Source: Wiltshire BBC