Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Sir Michael Wilshaw's fourth Annual Report sets out the challenges we face
and what we need to do to continue to improve schools. 

The report says that primary schools have continued to improve with 82% of the sample inspected being judged good or better. However, it suggests that secondary school improvement has stalled with only 71% of the sample inspected being judged good or better. Sir Michael Wilshaw stresses that schools are only as good as their leaders and teachers and that the problems we face are as common among free schools and academies as local authority schools. Interestingly, the most improved sector, primary education, is where local authorities still monitor and support most schools!

We shouldn't forget that this is a sample of schools since inspection is not an annual blood sport!
The report is based on 6469 inspections of the 21,975 schools... a 29.5% sample!
The key findings are:
  • Primary schools in England are getting better, but improvement in secondary schools has stalled. 
  • Strong leadership is crucial but not enough schools have good leaders. 
  • The best schools focus on high-quality teaching. 
  • Good teachers are in short supply where they are needed most. 
  • Secondary schools are not stretching our most able pupils.
  • Although children from poor backgrounds are doing better, particularly at primary, they are still too far behind other pupils. 
  • The right school culture is critical for improvement. 
  • Without effective challenge, support and intervention, many underperforming schools do not improve. 
  • It is too early to judge the overall performance of free schools. 
  • Too many academies do not receive effective challenge and support. 
  • Schools have responded positively to the challenge of inspection.

The picture in the region is very mixed but the answers aren't rocket science and we simply need:
  • To develop and support strong, successful and passionate learning leadership; 
  • To develop personalised approaches that recognise that schools are unique and special places and need different things at different times; 
  • To identify outstanding practice and develop school to school and teacher to teacher sharing of successes and best practice; 
  • To focus on what happens in classrooms because it doesn't matter much which school you attend but it does matter which classroom you are in! 
  • To develop intelligent accountability based on trust, support and encouragement; 
  • To ensure that our teachers are engaged, motivated and inspired and passionate about teaching and learning.

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