Tough for schools

COUNTY councillors have considered strategies being put in place to bring more of the area’s primary schools up to standard to meet new targets being set by Ofsted.

Under government reforms of inspections systems and targets, the plan is to phase out the use of ‘satisfactory’ grading, pushing schools to reach ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ratings, plus introducing short notice inspections as of September. Education officers claim this may pose significant challenges for a high number of schools, especially smaller ones that stand alone.

Currently, out of 276 primary schools in the county, 96 are judged as satisfactory by inspectors and six as inadequate (three in special measures). Among those currently rated satisfactory at their last inspection were Ancaster, Brant Broughton, Heckington, Caythorpe, Pointon and Ruskington Chestnut Street. More than half of those schools judged as satisfactory are deemed as needing to do better.

According to a report to the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee, the challenge for the authority is how to maintain a high level of support and in some cases intervention to boost those seen as needing improvement while preventing decline in standards elsewhere. This will be via school to school support, leadership support, teaching support, pre-Ofsted support and targeted support to raise standards among particular groups of pupils and subject areas, assisted by more careful monitoring

On a positive note, overall Lincolnshire schools had been improving results year on year in line with the national rate.