Ofsted report ranks Kent and Medway schools among worst in country
County schools are ranked
below many in disadvantaged London boroughs
by political editor Paul Francis
Children in Kent and Medway have less chance of going to a good
or outstanding primary school than most other parts of the country,
according to a report by Ofsted.
The two areas are among the bottom 10 ranked by Ofsted on
the basis of the number of good or outstanding primary schools as
decided by inspectors' ratings.
In Kent, 55% of children attend a good or outstanding primary
while in Medway, the figure is 54%.
That contrasts with the London borough of Camden with a figure
of 92%, East Sussex with 70% and Essex with 61%.
Kent and Medway are also behind some of London's most
disadvantaged boroughs on Ofsted's ranking - including
Haringey (58%) and Brent (66%).
According to Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, the
figures point to what he described as "unacceptably wide variations
in the perfomance of
"For just 55% of pupils to be at good or outstanding schools is not good enough...” – Cllr Mike Whiting
schools in different
parts of England."
He said: "We'll be looking very carefully at what's happening in
those local authorities with the same sort of population, with
similar levels of deprivation, similar numbers of children on free
school meals, where one particular local authority does extremely
well and another one doesn't."
He added: "We'll be asking a question: why is it parents in some
parts of the country have less than a 50% chance of getting their
children into a good primary school where there are other parts of
the country where that chance is over 90%?"
Kent County Council said there are signs its primary
schools are improving and beginning to close the gap.
Provisional Key Stage Two results - tests taken by children in
their final year of primary education - show 78% of pupils achieved
the expected level of attainment this year in English and maths, an
improvement of 5.9 % on 2011.
At the same time, Kent was getting closer to its so-called
statistical neighbours, which are authorities with similar social
The best-performing area similar to Kent saw 81% of pupils
achieve the expected level in their primary tests, a gap of 3%
compared to 7% in
Cllr Mike Whiting, KCC cabinet member for education, said: "For
just 55% of pupils to be at good or outstanding schools is not good
"It is not news to the council that this is the situation, and
that is why we have been taking such a vigorous approach to making
improvements across the county over the last year.
"Other indicators, such as Key Stage 2 results and more recent
Ofsted inspections, suggest our approach is working and we are
going in the right direction. I expect this to continue. In fact, I
would expect a future report like this one to reflect the
improvements that are taking place in the county."
Barbara Peacock, Medway's director of children and adult
services, said: "Improving educational standards in Medway is of
the utmost importance and we are working intensively with schools
where improvements are needed to ensure that they progress as
quickly as they can.
"This includes working closely with local authorities and other
partners where there is outstanding practice, helping schools to
raise standards in subjects such as English and mathematics and
recruiting ambitious headteachers that are focused on securing
"There are a number of primary schools in Medway that are
already doing much better, with some of the most improved seeing a
30% rise in their Key Stage 2 English and mathematics results in
just one year. We are using these to help share best practice
across the area.
"We fully accept that there is more to be done to raise
attainment and ensure every school provides the best outcomes for
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