Major concerns have been raised over Government criticism of Shropshire’s primary schools, with opponents claiming a new report gives a ‘misleading picture’ to parents.
The criticism comes after an Ofsted report listed both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils in the bottom 25 local authorities for the percentage of primary school pupils attending a school rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
Only 59 per cent of pupils in Shropshire attend primaries rated in these two categories, with just 53 per cent doing so in Telford & Wrekin – which represents the fifth worst record in the entire country.
But the report has been criticised by local councillors and a teaching union.
Shropshire Council said the figures, which assessed local authority performance up to August, were out of date – with 64 per cent of children now attending good or outstanding schools.
And Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member Paul Watling, said the authority was ‘disappointed’ that Ofsted had chosen to publish this information as it had because it gave a misleading picture to parents.
“In Telford and Wrekin we have no primary schools at all below Government floor standards in performance in English and maths,” he said. “Currently we have just one that is judged with the category ‘notice to improve’.”
The Ofsted report comes after a tougher inspection regime was launched in September, with the previous ‘satisfactory’ grade being replaced with a ‘requires improvement’ assessment.
The figures puts Shropshire Council in the bottom 25 of the table of local authorities. Out of 150 local authorities assessed, Shropshire Council was 128th, with Telford & Wrekin 146th.
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said many schools across the country were letting pupils and parents down.
But Shropshire Council’s lead member for learning and skills Celia Motley said: “We are determined to support our schools so they can continue to improve.
“However, we have to acknowledge that schools in Shropshire are the seventh lowest-funded in the country.”
By Chris Burn