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Government inspector says seaside schools failing pupils most

By CMScott  |  Posted: June 20, 2013

By Scott Hamilton

Richard_Schofield

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PUPILS in seaside schools are now lagging behind their inner city counterparts, the Government’s chief schools inspector has warned.

The revelation comes just two weeks after St Ives School and Pendeen Primary School were both put into special measures after highly critical Ofsted reports.

Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has now said that top teachers should be sent into rescue failing seaside and rural schools.

These teachers should be contracted by the Government to “parachute” into schools in trouble.

His call mirrors almost exactly the situation revealed by The Cornishman the week before last when Cornwall Council sent trouble shooter Richard Schofield, previously of Brannel School in St Austell, into St Ives School.

He was tasked with taking over from current head Jenny Veal, who had only been in post six months, to lead the school out of special measures after Ofsted said it was failing its students academically.

A new report published by Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw today – entitled Access and Achievement – shows inner city areas had been replaced by deprived seaside and countryside towns as the ones most likely to be failing their children.

Schools in these areas that fail should be handed over to “national service teachers”, according to Sir Michael.

He said: “We’re calling these teachers "national service teachers". These would be a tranche of teachers identified – not newly-qualified teachers - people who are working in schools that we know to be good teachers.

“We’re suggesting to government that they contract with government and are then directed to these schools where children are failing.”

Ofsted said it found “serious weaknesses” at St Ives School, which has 700 pupils.

“This school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school," the Ofsted report said.

Head Jenny Veal told pupils and parents: "Inspectors recognised the excellent pastoral care, the strong relationships and also the very good behaviour.

"We fully accept that there are improvements to be made with particular regard to teaching and learning.”

Pupils' achievement, teaching, leadership and management at Pendeen Primary School were all branded inadequate by the Ofsted inspector, and children's behaviour and safety was said to require improvement.

The report detailed problems such as inaccurate managerial judgement, low expectations and work that didn't interest pupils, which in turn contributed to special measures being imposed.

Staff and governors at Pendeen have pledged to raise standards and address the problems highlighted, and insisted doubts over their commitment to pupils' learning should be laid to rest.

"The staff and governors are fully committed to ensuring that the children make faster progress," said head teacher Maureen Nicholls.

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3 comments

  • SpeedySpod  |  June 23 2013, 1:30AM

    I had the honour to meet Mr Richard Schofield last week Thursday when he introduced himself the parents of St. Ives School as the new intermittent head. When I mentioned Brannel School (his current place of employment) and waved the BBC News GCSE league table results (2011-2013), he immediately bulldozed me over. He became quickly evasive and did not allow me to complete the question. Why did Brannel School academy performed worse in three consecutive years (incl. last year under his leadership!!!) than St. Ives - A Technology College??? I am a parent of this school with active hands-on teaching assistant experience. This is a 'good to outstanding' school but you will only see it when you look at the individual performance of this school (in 2013: 89% A*s - Cs in music, in 2012: 89% A*s - Cs in D&T). St Ives School has been well performing above national average in GCSEs as you quickly find out for yourself. This is not about an apparently under-performing school that needs rescue. This is imho about slashing a good school's reputation that happen to be of medium-size with out-dated equipment to instill fear and anxiety into parents so that they move voluntarily their children into large-sized academy schools that do worse in GCSEs, but are costly to the taxpayer. http://tinyurl.com/ljje23z and: http://tinyurl.com/ksnhb8l and: http://tinyurl.com/lxcemvs

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  • emurfitt  |  June 21 2013, 12:08PM

    Blaming the Cornish language for poor teaching and leadership won't get us anywhere. Scapegoating is a distraction. In any event, Cornish is not only an ancient (and beautiful!) language but a living one recognized as such by UNESCO and the EU. A good grounding in a Celtic language facilitates the learning of modern languages as well as enhancing cultural awareness and giving children pride and confidence in their identity. The UK is short of language specialists, so anything that helps pupils into this field has to be good.

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  • youngcornwall  |  June 20 2013, 4:51PM

    "Sir Michael Wilshaw has now said that top teachers should be sent into rescue failing seaside and rural schools." Perhaps for Cornwall it may help if these teachers could speak the old Cornish language maybe, or could this be something that is holding children in Cornwall back, being encouraged to learn a antiquated language when time could be better spent?

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