Press release: HM Chief Inspector raises concerns about secondary schools

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has issued another warning about the regional divide in England’s education system after the age of 11.

Official statistics published today (29 June 2016) show that of 416 secondary schools inspected between 1 September 2015 and 31 March 2016, just 57% were judged to be good or outstanding.

The figures also show that of the 24 local authority areas where less than 60% of secondary schools were judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, 17 are in the north and midlands.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said:

In my annual report at the end of last year, I highlighted serious concerns about the performance of secondary schools in the north and midlands, especially those serving the poorest and most isolated communities. Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t got any better in the months since. More than 40% of secondary schools inspected by Ofsted over the last 2 terms were not good enough.

As things stand, far too many children are being let down by the system when they reach the age of 11, simply because of where they live. We’re also not doing enough to support the most able children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This puts in jeopardy the government’s ambition for the majority of pupils to study the EBacc subjects at GCSE.

The nation should be worried. Our future prosperity depends on this generation of young people receiving a good education. So it is vital that we raise standards for all children and find lasting solutions to close the regional divide in secondary schools. We must urgently tackle issues around teacher shortages and the quality of leadership, and ensure that the best multi-academy trusts, the best leaders and the best teachers are incentivised to work in the areas where they are needed most.

If these challenges remain unaddressed, I fear we risk wasting the talent and potential of tens of thousands of young people.

Primary schools continue to perform more strongly than secondary schools on a range of measures, with 77% of those inspected during this academic year judged good or outstanding.

Notes to editors

  • The official statistics show the outcomes of all school inspections carried out during the first 2 terms of this academic year, as well as a state of the nation summary of the performance of all maintained schools and academies in England based on their most recent inspection.

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