Two schools in Lancaster district on Ofsted list of shame

Heysham High.
Heysham High.
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Standards in Lancashire’s schools – including two in the Lancaster district – are falling, according to the schools watchdog Ofsted.

The annual ‘state of the nation’ look at how well schools are doing across the country reveals that the percentage of both primary and secondary schools graded good or outstanding by the Office for Standards in Education in the county has fallen since last year.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Lancaster and Heysham High School have both been named and shamed for not getting a good report over the past decade.

They are among a list of 135 schools that have failed to record a “good” Ofsted inspection since 2005.

However, Lancashire still has some of the best schools in the country, beating both regional and national figures with nine out of 10 primariesgetting top marks. The number of Lancashire’s primary schools graded good or outstanding has dropped one per cent on last year, in line with the regional performance, to 94 per cent.

This is higher than the regional figure which now stands at 92 per cent. The national figures is 90.

The percentage of secondary schools awarded the good or outstanding rating has also fallen from 78 to 77 per cent.

The north west figure is down two per cent to 71 per cent.

Ofsted North West Director Andrew Cook said: “While children in the north west generally get off to a slow start in the early years, they tend to achieve well by the end of primary school. However, the chances for older pupils to do as well as they should are very mixed.”

Chief schools inspector Amanda Spielman said the time had come to focus on what needs to be done to make a change. She said: “What we’re seeing is that an enormous amount of help has been pointed at these schools in different ways but somehow it doesn’t seem to be hitting the spot, it’s not necessarily getting through and changing what happens in the workplace.”

However, heads’ leader Geoff Barton said Ofsted could be part of the problem and that the problem was exacerbated by a “teacher recruitment and retention crisis” and the “underfunding of schools”.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, County Coun Susie Charles, said: “Educational performance in Lancashire continues to set a high standard in the region, and compares well with the national average.

“I’m really proud of these results. They are a testament to the high quality of the teaching in our schools and the commitment of pupils and their families to learning. And they show that the overall standard of education in Lancashire is up there with the best in the region.

“We certainly won’t rest on our laurels though and we’ll continue to make sure that we fulfil our aim of all our pupils being able to attend a school which is rated as good or outstanding.

“This is demonstrated by the county council’s cabinet approving the new Lancashire Ambition plan last week, committing to building further upon this achievement.”