School standards dip across the South West - but nurseries and childminders impress Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 11:56 05 December 2018

Writing in a notebook. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Writing in a notebook. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

yvonnestewarthenderson

School standards across Devon – and the South West - have dipped slightly in the last year, new statistics reveal.

However, Devon County Council, the body responsible for the county’s schools, has blamed underfunding as the reason.

An annual report published by schools watchdog Ofsted showed, as of August 31 2018, 87 per cent of primary schools in Devon were judged as good or outstanding – a drop of four per cent compared to August 31 2017.

Seventy-six per cent of secondary schools in Devon were judged good or outstanding, a drop of six per cent.

The report said: “By the end of August 2018, 83 per cent of schools in the South West were judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, compared with 86 per cent nationally.

“This was a four percentage points decline for the region compared with August 2017.

“For primary schools, 84 per cent in the region were judged to be good or outstanding, a four percentage points decline compared with August 2017 figures. For secondary schools, 73 per cent were judged to be good or outstanding - below the national figure and a six percentage points decline compared with August 2017.”

Devon County Council said that schools in Devon had been ‘struggling’ with underfunding for years, but were still delivering ‘exceptional results’.

A spokesman said: “However, there comes a time when no amount of dedication and hard work by heads and teachers can compensate for a lack of resources.

“This is being demonstrated in results and Ofsted inspections and it is why it is more important than ever for us to secure fair funding for our schools.”

It’s not all bad news for the South West – 96 per cent of childminders were judged good or outstanding, above the national figure of 94 per cent.

Ninety-five per cent of nurseries and pre-schools were also rated good or outstanding –in line with the national figure.

Bradley Simmons, Ofsted South West Director, said: “I am pleased to report that in the South West, outcomes for our youngest children in early years education continue to be above the national average along with our further education and skills providers, who continue to provide a top quality service.

“However, I am concerned that there has been a four percentage point decline in inspection outcomes for primary and secondary schools.”

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