THURROCK’S children are among those least likely to get a decent primary education in the UK according to Ofsted’s annual report.
Figures show that just 49 per cent of the borough’s youngsters are in primary schools considered “good” or better by Ofsted, with the local authority in the bottom three for the number of “good” or “outstanding” schools.
In June, 20 of the 42 primary schools in Thurrock had a satisfactory grading and in the last year, only seven of the 14 schools inspected by Ofsted were found to be “good”.
One, Dilkes was rated as “outstanding”. Five were found to be satisfactory or to require improvement and Purfleet Primary School was deemed “inadequate” in December 2011, but is now making “satisfactory progress”.
Cllr Oliver Gerrish, responsible for education at Thurrock Council called the stats “disappointing” but believes schools are improving, claiming that two years ago, just 33 per cent of the borough’s primary pupils were in good or outstanding schools.
He said: “In our Early Years Foundation Stage, we have reached the national average in three years from being well below. In Key Stage One we now exceed the national average in Reading and Maths and are at the national average in Writing.
“In the new Phonics Test taken in Year One, Thurrock children are performing exactly at the national average and this year the improvement trend at Key Stage two showed Thurrock schools were improving at a faster rate than nationally.”
He added: “We are working together with stronger schools to support the weaker ones, and not ruling out any routes which will lead to improvement.
“These improvements in performance will undoubtedly contribute to better Ofsted judgements over time.”
Jackie Doyle-Price, the Thurrock MP believes the answer to Thurrock’s school woes lies in academies or partnership schemes.
She said: “We have known for some time that a number of Thurrock’s primary schools are underperforming.
“They need an injection of fresh leadership to boost performance, either through the involvement of an academy sponsor or a partner school.
“New Free schools to replace the failing should also be considered. There needs to be a determined effort to drive up standards.”
Cllr James Halden, the Thurrock Tory spokesman on education, said: “Its time Labour woke up, we are in the bottom three councils for primary education in the country.
"I call on Labour to back our plans for school freedom, that they have been blindly opposed to for too long.”