Portsmouth headteachers hit back at criticism from Ofsted boss

IN THE CLASSROOM Schools have been criticised for failing gifted youngsters
IN THE CLASSROOM Schools have been criticised for failing gifted youngsters

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Nursery school for all three-year-olds

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HEADTEACHERS have shared their disappointment at criticisms of the education system in a report by Ofsted.

Chief inspector of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw said that low expectations at school have led to brighter children failing to gain top GCSE grades.

Figures show that nationally, two-thirds of pupils, around 65,000, who achieved Level 5 in primary school maths and English tests failed to get A* or an A in both subjects at GCSE.

A report by Ofsted has said that teaching was ‘insufficiently focused’ for able pupils in the first three years of secondary school.

But Adam Dare, headteacher of King Richard School in Paulsgrove, said: ‘There’s no evidence that pupils are being let down by the education system. This is another attack on public education.

‘The real issue is the progress of young people who are below Level 4.

‘A significant number of the brightest children are going on to get the higher level grades.

‘It’s an unsupported belief. It’s looking at a set of figures and declaring that that in particular is not good enough.’

Headteacher of City Boys School in Portsmouth Mike Smith said: ‘Schools do all sorts of things with gifted and talented children to stretch and challenge them.

‘To say that schools fail them is just the same old rubbish that these people talk about all the time.’

Joy Squibb is headteacher of St John’s Church of England Primary School in Gosport.

She said: ‘For them to say that schools have low expectations of pupils is just not rooted in evidence.

‘All headteachers and all teachers want the very best for their pupils whatever their ability.

‘Ofsted have to stop criticising and report on the excellent work that’s happening in schools and how many children are making more rapid progress than they used to.’

But James Humphries, headteacher of Priory School, said: ‘He is right that we continually need to review how we serve the needs of the most able and be alert to the problem of pupils coasting at the beginning of Year 7.

‘My only issue with the coverage is that the rhetoric is unfair. Expected progress from Level 5 in English and Maths is not to A*.

‘To portray this as a ‘failure’ is not fair on hardworking children and teachers.’