Norfolk schools' Ofsted report raises 'considerable concern'

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Media captionNorfolk County Council says work is going on to improve local schools

Snap inspections into 28 schools in Norfolk have raised "considerable concern", education watchdog Ofsted has said in a newly published report.

The focused inspections were carried out over a week in March after worries were raised over education in Norfolk.

The report said six schools needed to go into special measures, with 11 previously deemed "satisfactory" now needing improvement.

Norfolk County Council was criticised as being part of the problem.

'Divergence of opinion'

Inspectors said the council did not have an "established and well understood" system for providing support and direction for schools.

"There is an urgent need for the local authority to provide greater challenge and support to the county's schools in order to bring about sustained improvement," the report said.

"There is a wide divergence of opinion among schools about the quality and impact of support and challenge provided by the local authority."

Sean Harford, Ofsted regional director for the East of England said: "Schools haven't understood the local authority strategic approach.

"Our job is to shine a light on where things are being done well and where they're not being done well.

"We want all children in Norfolk to go to a good school, and clearly they're not."

He said Ofsted would be carrying out inspections into councils in the future.

Gordon Boyd, children's services assistant director, agreed that the county council's strategy was not clear.

"We are already sharpening our focus on keeping our eye on all schools.

"All information [about schools] will be brought together and where we feel a school is not doing well, we will identify it as a school of concern and we will intervene.

"Within two years we want to be as good as any other authority," he added.

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