Concerns raised about state of education for thousands of children in the East


- Credit: Archant

The region’s schools are still failing to reach their full potential, an Ofsted chief has warned.

Andrew Cook, the watchdog’s regional director for the East of England, said although improvements have been made, concerns remain about the state of education in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

New to the role, Mr Cook emphasised that it is local authorities, senior leaders and teachers who must pull schools out of the black hole.

His comments come as Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw delivered his annual report, looking at the outcomes of inspections in 2013-14, where he said nationwide secondary education had “stalled”.

In the section on the East, Sir Michael described how Cambridgeshire had the worst record for children attending a good or outstanding secondary school in the region.

In a stark description, the report says a child starting out in the East has a better than average chance of attending a good or outstanding early years provider – but that probability decreases as the youngster progresses to secondary and further education.

The report notes the six percentage point increase this year in the proportion of good or outstanding primary schools in the region but added: “Unfortunately this has not been replicated in the secondary phase, where the proportion of schools that are at least good has remained virtually static.”

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Mr Cook, who replaced Sean Harford as East of England director, said bettering struggling schools starts at the top. “Leadership and management, they are the factors impacting on the quality of teaching and learning,” he said.

“Levels of deprivation is not an excuse. It is down to the quality of leadership, quality of governance and the quality of teaching.”