I know from my experience as a parent that schools are building up to a Christmas crescendo with excited children and increasingly exhausted teachers. So with the end of term approaching it is a good time to take a moment to applaud the extraordinary combined efforts by teachers, governors, parents and pupils that have contributed to the latest Ofsted figures.
These show that nine more schools in West Berkshire have been judged good or outstanding in their most recent inspection compared to 2015, which means that 70 of our local schools are now rated in those top two categories. In total, 13 schools in West Berkshire were rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at their last inspection, and 57 were rated ‘Good’. None were rated ‘Inadequate’. This means 22,100 pupils in the area attend schools that are rated good or outstanding (out of a total of 25,700 in Ofsted-rated schools). More broadly, across the South East as a whole, 234 more schools have been rated as good or outstanding, and across the country the proportion of all schools judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection was 89 per cent – the highest proportion ever recorded. This means that the proportion of primary and secondary schools judged at these ratings are continuing to rise in every region of the country. As a result almost 1.8 million more children are now in good schools compared to 2010.
Much has been said about the proposal to increase the number of grammar schools but this should be seen in the context of the Government’s extensive plans to make more good school places available and to harness the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools. I fully support the aim to make sure every child can access high quality education, so that they have the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them, regardless of their background.
The school holidays are almost upon us and teachers will be taking a well-earned break. I hope they will be giving themselves an equally well-earned pat on the back. Ofsted inspections are hard work and stressful but when the feedback is good then schools should rightly celebrate. That figure of 22,100 pupils who now attend schools that are rated good or outstanding represents 22,100 improved life chances. That is really good news.