OFSTED has announced it is going to inspect the state of schools in Thurrock following concerns about performance.

Through the inspections by Ofsted, schools in Thurrock will come under scrutiny.

Inspectors will observe and analyse lessons in progress, talk to school staff, pupils and parents, and ask staff what the local authority does in terms of challenging and supporting them to improve.

Inspectors are also going in to support the council's school improvement programme.

Ofsted's own annual report, published in November, found Thurrock to be in the bottom three in England and Wales for the number of primary schools that are good or outstanding.

Thurrock is ranked the worst in the East of England for primary schools.

Sean Harford, Ofsted director for the East of England, said: "Too many children in Thurrock leave primary school ill-prepared for their secondary education. While some pupils do well, too many are lagging behind, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. This needs to change.

"There are areas in the borough where pupils fare significantly better in similar circumstances.

"We are going in to diagnose the problems through inspection. That’s the first stage in the path towards a brighter future for children in Thurrock."

Ofsted says it will carefully consider the evidence once its focused inspections have taken place.

There will then follow an outcome letter, addressed to Thurrock Council and made public, which will outline the inspection findings.

John Kent, the leader of Thurrock Council and the portfolio holder for education welcomes the inspection.

He said: "I have no doubt Ofsted will find some issues, but I’m equally certain that they will realise that, overall, Thurrock is on an improving path, whatever some local people say, education in Thurrock is getting better."

Cllr Kent added: "I have said before that one of the reasons Thurrock remained close to the foot of the Ofsted league table is that those below us were focused on by the inspectorate – now it’s our turn and our chance to show that the historic issues between the council and schools are no more.

"I’m sure Ofsted will recognise and acknowledge that Thurrock Council is working in partnership with all our schools towards a common aim of ensuring young people in this borough will have the skills and the qualifications needed to take on the challenges, jobs and careers that regeneration will bring in the years to come."