Wouldn't it be great if they said, "Thank you for all your hard work," just once.
Delivering her annual report on the state of education, the head of Ofsted said the worst-performing schools were 'blighting the life chances' of students. Christine Gilbert, however, said it was the poorest children who were most likely to get a raw deal from the education system. The learning gap between rich and poor children showed little sign of closing because too many schools used pupil deprivation as an an 'excuse' for under-achievement, she declared. She also warned that weak mastery-of the three Rs was holding back too many pupils despite almost a decade of Labour initiatives. "It cannot be right that 20 per cent leave primary school without a solid foundation in literacy and numeracy" she said.
Four in ten primaries are judged to be either failing or coasting. Miss Gilbert's report also highlighted these warnings aout primary education:
• boring lessons are fuelling indiscipline;
• too many schools are failing to teach pupils about British values, history and heritage;
• gaps in teachers' subject knowledge is leading to 'mundane' lessons;
• teachers are not putting a strong enough focus on spelling and grammar;
She hailed a rise in the quality of schools since 2005/06 and said behaviour and attendance had also improved. The proportion of schools judged 'outstanding' had risen to 14 per cent, up from 11 per cent last year, she said.
However, Miss Gilbert added there were still too many 'buts'. After inspections at 6,848 state schools she said she remained concerned at the number providing an 'inadequate' education. One in 10 secondaries and one in 20 primaries had been judged to be failing or at risk of failing, the report showed. Though lower than last year, these levels were still 'far too high', said Miss Gilbert. She added: "Even if you have got one failing school, there are children having to go to that school. The blight to their life chances is something that can't be recouped in 10 years' time." The report showed that a further 39 per cent of secondary schools and 34 per cent of primaries were merely 'satisfactory'.