- April 20 view article

Secondary schools twice as likely to be rated under-performing by Ofsted, study finds

Secondary schools are almost twice as likely to be under-performing than primaries, according to new research.

More than one in four secondaries, 904 in total, could be considered to be performing below expectations, compared with just one in seven primary schools. 

The research, published today by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), also reveals that there are sizable disparities according to where schools are based in the country. 

More than 534 state primaries and secondaries are in need of attention in the East Midlands and Humber, around 21.2 per cent of all schools in the regions, while 16.5 per cent of schools in Lancashire and West Yorkshire are also thought to be a concern.

In contrast, the North of England has just 275 under-performing schools, the lowest number compared with all other regions. 

Schools were considered under-performing if they were judged by Ofsted to be inadequate or requiring improvement, if they fell below the Government's floor standard, or if they met the Government's proposed definition of a "coasting" school. 

The NFER said the disparities could undermine the efforts of regional school commissioners (RSCs) - charged with improving schools in the area - to turnaround poor performers. 

The report claims that there are 573 schools that are in "immediate need" of attention, meaning they are rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement by inspectors or below Government standards. 

Researchers also found that that there was a shortage of sponsors responsible for running Multi-Academy Trusts to take on under-performing schools in regions including Lancashire and West Yorkshire. 

It added that there were "stark regional differences", with some trusts in other parts of the country able to accommodate struggling schools, whilst others lacked the resources to do so. 

A Department for Education spokeswoman said that more work was needed to remove regional disparities, but added that 1.8 million more children were now educated at schools rated good or outstanding more than 2010. 

"As the report acknowledges we continue to build sponsor capacity at a national level but recognise there is more work to do in particular areas," she said.

"We are continuing to work with the school system to address those challenges." - April 20 view article