Bucks’ secondary schools worse than Luton and Slough on Ofsted inspections

Southfield Primary Academy in Brackley was put into special measures following their recent Ofsted insepction in November.
Southfield Primary Academy in Brackley was put into special measures following their recent Ofsted insepction in November.

Bucks falls below the likes of Luton, Newcastle, Slough, Leicestershire and Birmingham in a league table measuring the amount of good or outstanding schools per local authority.

The county comes in the bottom third of local authorities in Ofsted’s table, with 72% of its secondary schools rated as good or outstanding by the watchdog and 28% judged to be requiring improvement or inadequate (the same percentage as Sunderland and Calderdale).

Top authorites with 100% of schools graded as good or outstanding include Haringey, Rutland and Islington, while the worst performing authorities were St Helens and Hartlepool (35%) and Isle of Wight (17%).

A county council spokesman admitted there was ‘room for improvement’ but added it was working with schools ;to secure the best possible outcomes for all children’.

Dr Katy Simmons from campaign group Local Equal Excellent said: “We know there’s a strong link between attainment and affluence so you would expect Bucks to be much higher.

“This report is somewhat of a myth busting appraisal of our schools, exposing the claims made by councillors and asking them lots of questions. Why can all children in Haringey be guaranteed to go to a good school and a third in Bucks’s can’t? We need answers.”

Bucks fares better in terms of its primary schools, where 84% are rated as good or outstanding.

Despite Ofsted’s performance ratings, exam results achieved by Bucks schoolchildren are still above average.

A total of 69.3% of Bucks schoolchildren achieve five GCSEs including maths and English, compared to the national average of 52.6%, while 80% of youngsters are reaching level four in English and maths at Key Stage 2, compared to 79% nationally.

A county council spokesman said: “It’s great news that 84% of primary pupils attend good or outstanding schools as rated by Ofsted. That’s 3% up on last year and makes us the best performing local authority in the south east.

“Although we’re really pleased with the performance of many Buckinghamshire secondary schools, the report shows there is room for improvement. We are therefore working closely with both maintained and academy schools identified as needing additional support.

“As always, the data is only part of the story. Our school improvement work focuses on securing strong leaders; a greater focus on behaviour, especially low level disruption that wastes teaching time and securing enough governors at each school so that oversight and challenge is a regular feature of the schools’ work.

“The local authority and headteachers are working together to secure the best possible outcomes for all children and young people in Buckinghamshire.”