THURROCK is once again in the bottom three for the percentage of its pupils attending good or outstanding primary schools, Ofsted’s annual report has revealed.
For the second year running, Thurrock is third from bottom in the national rankings, with just 59 per cent of pupils under the age of 11 at schools deemed good enough by the government’s education watchdog.
While this represents an increase of 10 percentage points on last year – when just 49 per cent of the borough’s pupils under 11 were in good or better schools – that improvement is not enough to lift the authority out of the bottom three.
Councillor John Kent, portfolio holder for education, said the report held no surprises for the council but acknowledged the authority's low standing in the primary league table.
He said: “Yes we remain low in the league table and that’s disappointing, but the chief inspector acknowledges we are improving quickly; we are on the right road and heading in the right direction.
“We might like to be able to wave the magic wand and turn things around, but we need to ensure the proper foundations are in place so that when our primaries are up there with our secondaries, they will all stay there.”
Last year’s bottom two authorities - Coventry and Derby - saw an increase in the percentage of pupils at good or outstanding primary schools by 22 per cent and 26 per cent respectively – more than double the rate of improvement in Thurrock.
There were 23 local authorities out of 150 last year with less than 60 per cent of primary pupils in good or better schools.
This year, there are just three and only Medway and Wolverhampton have more children in schools that are not good enough. Thurrock also sits bottom of the Eastern region rankings.
Since November 2012, 12 out of the 16 primary schools fully inspected by Ofsted in Thurrock were found to be inadequate or require improvement.
In response to last year’s report, Thurrock Council called on former Ofsted chief Christine Gilbert to probe education in Thurrock. In her report – published in October - she highlighted a lack of trust between the council and headteachers - and said the borough lacked a strategy.
Mr Kent said though that he believed the authority should be celebrating results which saw Thurrock top the region for the percentage of pupils in good or outstanding secondary schools - a total of 92 per cent.
“This is worthy of celebration and something we should be celebrating. I’ve been meeting many of our secondary heads and visiting their schools over recent months and this success is something they’ve all worked very hard for.”