Don’t blame the schools: education starts at home

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As a bald statistic it comes as something of a shock: not one secondary school in Portsmouth is worth an ‘outstanding’ grading from Ofsted.

Now that body is sending in a team of inspectors to find out why.

It also wants to get to the bottom of the city’s educational plight and discover why things have got so bad that it is now among the worst 20 local authorities in the country for pupil attainment.

It would be all too easy to point the finger simply at the schools, their heads and their teachers.

They are an easy target and, yes, there might be some teachers and their bosses who are less than motivated and who let down the children.

But that is not what we see and report on day in, day out in this newspaper. They work incredibly hard in a bid to coax and mentor the best out of their charges.

But they can only do so much with the raw material which comes through the school gates each morning.

Tory council leader Donna Jones today talks about ‘increasing aspirations’ for the city’s children.

And that all starts at home, with the parents.

Yes, we have some of the most socially-deprived inner city areas in the south of England, but that should not mean children from those neighbourhoods becoming no-hopers before they even start school.

Parents have a moral duty to prepare their children for the world of education and then support them as they progress through it.

Sadly, we have all seen the results of those who have taken no or little interest in that progression and left it up to schools to take responsibility for their offsprings’ learning.

There are many gifted teachers and children in Portsmouth’s state secondary schools who sparkle despite the mundane. They should no longer have their gifts stifled by those who just do not care.