Cornwall schools improve but children from poorer families being 'left behind' (From Falmouth Packet)
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Cornwall schools improve but children from poorer families being 'left behind'
10:57am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
More than 80 per cent of children in Cornwall are attending good or outstanding secondary and primary schools, according to the latest report from Ofsted, however concerns remain that children from the poorest background being "left behind".
The report shows that 82 per cent of children are attending good or outstanding secondary schools compared to 75 per cent nationally, and 80 per cent attending good or outstanding primary schools, compared to 77 per cent nationally.
This puts Cornwall among the top half of local authorities in the country.
However the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals gaining five good GCSE grades, including English and mathematics, was below the national level for similar pupils.
The report has been welcomed by Andrew Wallis, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people.
“The council works closely with headteachers and governors at all schools to ensure that children in Cornwall are provided with the best possible quality of education. It is good to see that more than 80 per cent of our children are attending good or outstanding schools and I would like to thank governors, headteachers and staff for their hard work and commitment.
“However, while I obviously welcome this positive report, there is no room for complacency. Last week we formally launched the new Cornwall Raising Aspirations and Achievement Strategy (RAAS) which is aimed at ensuring all children and young people in Cornwall are given the best possible start in life.
"This means providing access to the highest quality education opportunities and raising the aspirations of both the young people and their families to encourage them to achieve beyond their expected potential.
“We will be continuing to work with schools to ensure that we see continued improvements in standards and increased rates of progress made by children in Cornwall”.
Bradley Simmons, acting regional director for the South West, said: “Thanks to the hard work and determination of teachers and leaders over 48,000 more pupils in the South West now benefit from a good or outstanding education than 12 months ago. This is due to the commitment of teachers and leaders across the region who, for the most part, have high expectations of children and understand that only a ‘good’ standard of education is good enough.
“However, the strong performance overall masks the stark underperformance of children from poorer families. They are being left behind.
“At both primary and secondary school level, these children are being let down. Not a single local authority area met the national average attainment figures for children on free school meals at primary school. At secondary school, the picture is equally poor.
“Tackling the achievement gap between the pupils on free school meals and their more affluent peers is a moral imperative. That is why Ofsted inspectors have taken a series of measures to help schools use the pupil premium fund more effectively to raise attainment for children on free school meals. We are determined to close this unacceptable gap.”
A large majority of further education (FE) providers in the South West are good or outstanding. However, 65,000 learners are still in provision that is less than good, mostly in large general further education (GFE) colleges and community learning provision.
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