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A tale of our two tier education
3:00pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
MORE than 90 per cent of Thurrock’s secondary school pupils are good or outstanding, Ofsted’s annual report has found.
The latest findings place the borough in the top 20 per cent for secondary schools across the whole of England.
However in stark contrast, Thurrock remains in the bottom three for its primary school education - with more than a third of pupils attending substandard schools.
John Kent, the council and education leader, was keen to celebrate the success of Thurrock’s secondary schools while accepting there is “still much to be done” to close the gap between primary and secondary education.
In a bid to improve Thurrock’s primary schools, he said the council is: *pairing strong schools with weaker ones *working hard to merge infant and junior schools into primaries to attract “better and more inspirational” permanent heads *offering tailored support to teachers and head teachers.
Mr Kent said: “Despite all this hard work, we’re still not where we want to be and we’re looking for new and innovative ways of speeding up the improvement process.
“That’s why we are doing our utmost to seek out, promote and celebrate positives.”
Ofsted’s report found that 11 per cent more of Thurrock’s primary pupils are in good or outstanding schools than last year - yet since November 2012, 12 of the 16 Thurrock primary schools fully inspected by Ofsted were found to be inadequate or require improvement.
And while last year 23 out of 150 local authorities had less than 60 per cent of primary pupils in good or outstanding schools. This year there are just three out 150...including Thurrock.
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price suggested issues with school places could be part of the problem.
She said: “Unfortunately the provision of school places across Thurrock means some schools are oversubscribed and under-performing schools are propped up by places being filled by children who cannot get into their first choice school.
“Free schools will improve choice and help drive up performance further. This will not happen overnight but we can take comfort from the fact that while progress is slow, it is improving.”
The MP also said good leadership is behind the success of Thurrock’s secondary schools.
Nicola Graham, principal of the Harris Academy, an outstanding secondary school in Chafford Hundred, said: "We have very high expectations for all our students.
"The staff and students enjoy excellent relationships and they all work very hard together. We aim to ensure that our students enjoy outstanding teaching every day so that they achieve challenging targets and can plan for successful futures as well-rounded citizens. We really care."
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