Good and outstanding schools on rise, Ofsted data shows

By Katherine Sellgren
BBC News education reporter

image source, Thinkstock

The proportion of primary and secondary schools in England rated as good or outstanding has increased, figures from the watchdog Ofsted show.

At the end of August, nearly nine in 10 (89%) schools were at least good at their latest inspection - up five percentage points on last year.

However, the gap between primary and secondary schools is widening.

The Ofsted data shows 90% of primary schools were rated good or outstanding, compared to 78% of secondaries.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has raised concerns about secondary education, warning in his annual report last year that there was a "growing geographical divide" in standards after age 11 between the North, the Midlands and the South of England.

The newly released statistics also show that more primary schools run by local councils were considered to be good or outstanding by inspectors than academies - state-funded schools which have control of areas such as the curriculum and staff pay and conditions.

In total, 91% of primary schools run by local authorities were rated as good or better at their last inspection, compared with 86% of primary academies.

Around 80% of primaries are currently under local council control.

"The increase in the proportion of good and outstanding schools is a direct result of the number of local authority primary schools improving from less than good to good or outstanding in 2015-16," Ofsted said.

The statistics coincide with a push by ministers for schools to become academies.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: "There are now almost 1.8 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in August 2010 - including almost 420,000 additional good or outstanding school places in the last year.

"But we know there is more to do, and that's precisely why we have set out plans to make more good school places available, to more parents, in more parts of the country - including scrapping the ban on new grammar school places, and harnessing the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools."

Malcolm Trobe, interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "The high proportion of schools judged good or outstanding reflects the enormous efforts being made across the country by dedicated school leaders and teachers in all phases.

"These outcomes are particularly impressive given that there is a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, and severe funding pressures.

"We once again call on the government to urgently address these issues in order to ensure that schools have the resources they need to be able to continue to raise standards."

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