Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thurrock education boss goes on attack over Ofsted inspections

THURROCK’S under-fire Education boss has stood by his assertion that Thurrock primary education is on the way up.

Cllr Gerrish made the bold statement a few months ago, despite a league table revealing that Thurrock primary schools were in the bottom three of the country for schools rated “Good” or “Outstanding.”

Since then, there has been a succession of inspection reports that seem to confirm Thurrock’s position in the “relegation zone” of primary education in the UK.

Corringham primary school as well as Benyon primary have been placed in special measures. St Joseph’s in Stanford, Purfleet, Harris Chafford and Little Thurrock have all been told that they require improvement.

Whilst there has been a plethora of unimpressive reports in Thurrock, Coventry and Derby, the two authorities that were placed bottom and second from bottom of the country have seem a raft of Good Ofsted reports.

Hearsall primary, Little Heath primary, Stanton Bridge, Allesley Hall primary in Coventry have all received Good reports whilst over in Derby: Asterdale primary, Redwood primary and Roe Farm have also received good Ofsted inspections.

But speaking to YT, cllr Gerrish has made a robust defence of the progress the primary schools are making.

Cll Gerrish said: “Thurrock schools are undeniably on the up. Our key aims are to improve the results that pupils are achieving and to ensure that the schools they are attending are judged “Good” or better.

To measure progress is therefore simple: are exam results improving, and are more and more schools being judged “Good” or better?

“The evidence on both counts is exceptionally strong.

“To take results first of all, there have been huge improvements in results for Early Years and Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

At Key Stage 1, we’ve turned around a large gap with national average to the point where we’re now exceeding that national average in each of Reading, Writing and Maths. Writing scores saw a 9 percentage point improvement this year, which is quite remarkable.

At Key Stage 2, a few years ago we were just about at the bottom of the bottom quartile nationally. Over the last three years, the percentage of pupils attaining level 4+ including English and Maths (the key measure) has trended up from 66% to 76% – a 10 percentage point jump that has nearly reached the national average, and we’re on course to close that gap.

On “Good” or better schools, we have seen dramatic increases.

Taking schools’ most recent Ofsted results, 13 have moved to “Good” having previously been rated “Satisfactory” or worse. Not a single school has gone from “Good” or better to a lower result.

That’s why it annoys me when people try and talk down education in Thurrock for their own political ends. We are certainly not where we need to be yet – I won’t be happy until every school is good and the results show that we are in the top quartile nationally. However, our rate of improvement both on exam results and Ofsted outcomes demonstrates that we are moving rapidly in that direction.

“Your Thurrock asked me directly what evidence it would take for me to change my mind that primary education is improving. I will say very clearly – I’d change my mind if schools were going from “Good” to worse, or if the exam results were declining. Neither of those things is happening, and in fact the rate of improvement is strong. Those that would do our schools down should perhaps be asked the opposite question: what evidence would it take for them to finally acknowledge the excellent progress being made in Thurrock?”

3 COMMENTS

  1. When Labour was in opposition they were forever attacking the Conservatives and their use of consultants.

    And now they employ Christine Gilbert the wife of former Labour Government Minister Tony McNulty and former head of Ofsted to write a report on education in Thurrock.

    Some questions – how much is she costing the taxpayers in Thurrock? .

    How much do all the various Directors and Heads of Service in education cost – and if they are doing such a bad job you have to pay an outside consultant to sort out their mess – why not sack them?

    And if education is on the way up why are you paying a consultant to sort out education in Thurrock.

    Just doesn’t make sense.

  2. One more question, Whats the point in obtaining what will clearly be a biased report. The council is obviously expecting an adverse report from OFSTED. Are they suggesting that a politically slanted report from the wife of a former labour minister will be more conclusive and transparent than the OFSTED report? More taxpayer funded spin from the Labour party I think.

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