Ofsted criticises Portsmouth City Council's attempts to improve schools in a damning report

INSPECTORS have criticised Portsmouth City Council's attempts to improve education standards in the city.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 1:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 3:52 pm

In a report published today Ofsted said youngsters between 11 and 16 are lagging behind the national average.

Underachievement of disadvantaged pupils has not been well addressed and those with special education needs are not making sufficient progress, the report said.

HM Inspector Sian Thornton said: ‘The local authority’s approach to school improvement lacks urgency and precision.’

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She added: ‘The local authority has not maintained effective systems to hold schools and colleges to account for pupils’ and learners’ outcomes.’

The report looked at arrangements for supporting school improvement.

Key points in the report include:

* Slow progress and low attainment means pupils are not ready for the next level of education.

* Underachievement of disadvantaged children under 16 is not being addressed successfully.

* Children with special education needs are not making sufficient progress.

* Absence of a consistent vision for excellence limits the council in bringing improvement.

* The need to raise standards was until recently not a prominent feature in the council’s plan to develop prosperity.

* Council’s approach to improvement lacks urgency and precision.

Councillor Neill Young is cabinet member for education at the city council.

He said: ‘For us not to be at the national average for GCSEs is not acceptable and we need to do better.

‘We have got a strategy in place, what that highlights is that we’ve got our aspirations for where we want to be.

‘What we’ve now got to do is to work with schools to make sure we implement that strategy.’

He added much of what was in the report was already known , that the current Conservative council administration had spent £15m on schools, and that the report does highlight improvements.

Ofsted inspected seven schools between February 8 and 12 and carried out a phone survey with 15 schools and academies between February 1 and 8.

An Ofsted statement said: ‘In addition, inspectors held discussions with elected members, senior officers and school improvement staff.

‘Inspectors met with head teachers, principals and governors from schools, colleges, academies, teaching school alliances and the schools forum.

‘Discussions were also held with representatives of services that deliver support for school improvement and with contracted consultants.’