Ofsted to inspect Suffolk primary schools over failings

Head of Morland Primary in Ipswich, Ken Marrable, said Suffolk teachers all try very hard for the children

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Concerns that 76 Suffolk primary schools are failing to provide a good standard of education has prompted a countywide inspection by Ofsted.

The watchdog has started a week of co-ordinated inspections to find out why the county has a disproportionate number of under-performing schools.

In Suffolk, 30% of primary schools were rated "not yet good", compared to 28% in the east region and 21% nationally.

Education authority Suffolk County Council said it welcomes inspections.

Ofsted's latest data, from 30 June 2013, found that more than 15,000 children were attending a primary school judged to be less than good, at its last inspection.

'Effectiveness of council'

Sean Harford, regional director for the East of England of Ofsted, said: "Children only get one chance of an education.

"All parents should have the same opportunity to send their children to a good or better school but in Suffolk the chance of being able to do so is much lower than in other parts of the country.

"That is why today and over the next week, my inspectors will be visiting a number of schools in Suffolk to find out whether performance is improving. We will be paying particular attention to the effectiveness and impact of the support these schools are receiving from the local authority."

Lisa Chambers, the county council's cabinet member for education, said improving education was a "top priority".

"We're focused on making sure every child in Suffolk has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, which includes going to a good or outstanding school," she said.

The inspections, which were scheduled to take place this academic year but are being brought forward, will include all types of schools - although the majority will be primary schools.

Inspections and telephone surveys aim to give a powerful snapshot of how well these particular schools are doing in Suffolk and a strong indication of the quality of external support and direction given to the schools by the local authority.

The findings and any recommendations will be shared with the local authority as well as schools, parents and the wider public.

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