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Southampton schools getting better and better, says Ofsted
“IT IS a success story that is being built on all the time”.
Five years ago the city was failing to provide an adequate education to the majority of its children, according to performance figures and school inspections.
Now, however you look at it, the city is on the up.
In its annual report the schools watchdog has heralded Southampton as an education authority that is making impressive strides in delivering quality teaching and learning at schools that are increasingly being rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ – the top two inspection categories.
Figures released as part of the schools watchdog’s annual report reveal that more youngsters than ever are being given a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ education, putting Southampton in the top half of all authorities in the country that have the most ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ primary schools.
According to the latest figures, 81 per cent of primary schools in Southampton are ranked in the top two categories – up from last year’s figure of 64 per cent.
It puts the authority in the top three of local authorities in the south-east region and equal 60th when compared with schools nationally.
Mr Coffey said: “I think there is a real success story to be told in Southampton, that is clear from every piece of data, particularly at primary level.
“Of all the local authorities in the region, only two others have more schools in the top two categories, that is a really strong success story.”
The news was welcomed by Cllr Sarah Bogle, Cabinet member for children’s services.
She said: “I welcome the improvement in the city and I think it reflects the ambitions we have for Southampton which I feel is shared across the political spectrum.
“Although we know we are doing good things in Southampton, it is important to get that external validation that backs that up from Ofsted.
“We now have eight national leaders of education who work in other areas i n the region along with the two teaching schools which do great work in sharing good practice amongst our schools. “I think that has been at the heart of our successes, that we all move forward together. And when something goes wrong we move quickly to turn it around.
“Historically there was a poor perception of the city in terms of education but that is changing and we are doing it all together rather than in fragments, which could so easily happen with all the pressures, targets and complexities of the education system.”
However, work still needs to be done on raising the standard of all secondary schools in the city, with 66 per cent of all schools in the category achieving a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating that puts the local education authority at joint 109th nationally for the quality of secondary school education.
Across Hampshire 79 per cent of secondary schools are ranked in the top two categories, putting it joint 60th nationally.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, said: “Hampshire offers a high quality of education and this has been borne out by today’s Ofsted report that shows more Hampshire schools than average across the country have been judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
“While this is good news, we are not complacent and will continue to work closely with our schools to drive for high standards.
“Ofsted’s annual report makes some points that are as relevant to Hampshire schools as any others and we have taken full note of these in order to ensure that they are addressed in all of our school improvement work.”
Mr Coffey also added that more work needs to be done on closing the gap between achievement by youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and pupils from more affluent backgrounds.
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