EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: How Doncaster's schools compare nationally

Council officials admit more needs to be done after new figures obtained by the Free Press showed only 38 per cent of Doncaster's secondary schools are rated as outstanding or good.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 1:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:58 pm
REVEALED: How Doncaster's schools compare nationally
REVEALED: How Doncaster's schools compare nationally

The figures have shown how the number of the borough’s schools that have achieved the top two grades by the education watchdog are a staggering 35.2 per cent below the national average of 74 per cent, when compared with official figures from the 2015 annual Ofsted report.

And in the North and the Midlands an average of 68 per cent of schools achieve the top two grades

* Buy tomorrow's Doncaster Free Press for the full list as well as reaction and analysis of these Ofsted figures

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Doncaster Council has set up a commission to find out what can be done to turn the problem around.

Doncaster fares better with standards at primary-level education, with 66.66 per cent of schools graded good or outstanding at their most recent inspection.

However, this is still 18.34 per cent lower than the national average of 85 per cent.

The Department of Education states a ‘good’ grade from Ofsted is the minimum requirement schools should be aiming for.

And after analysing the most recent Ofsted inspection reports for every school in the borough, we can reveal that out of Doncaster’s secondary schools three were outstanding, four were

good, seven required improvement and three were inadequate.

Of Doncaster primary schools, 14 were outstanding, 52 were good, 26 required improvement and six were inadequate.

The borough also has seven schools for children with special educational needs.

Of those seven schools two are outstanding, four are good and one requires improvement.

Doncaster Council does not include five schools across the borough that have become academies since their last Ofsted inspection when making its own calculations. Our figures include them.

Those five schools are Kirk Sandal Infant School, rated outstanding; Montagu Primary School, rated inadequate; Moreley Junior School, rated inadequate; Waverley Primary School, rated inadequate; and Mexborough School, rated inadequate.

Damian Allen, director of learning and skills at Doncaster Council, said: “For the local schools and academies that have valid Ofsted inspections, 70.8 per cent of primaries and 43.8 per cent of secondaries are good or outstanding. We know that these standards, particularly in secondary education, need to improve.

“The need for improvement is exactly why we set up the Education and Skills Commission, working with national experts to drive up standards and improve educational outcomes. The commissioners are still assessing our local education system and will be filing their report and making recommendations in September this year.

“We know there is more work to be done, but it is encouraging to see that the percentage of schools rated good or outstanding is increasing and is at its highest level since the introduction of the current inspection framework. There have also not been as many Ofsted inspections as we had expected in the last year, and we are confident that if some of the schools currently rated as inadequate or requiring improvement were inspected now then Ofsted would find significantly improved schools.”

“Initiatives like the Mayor’s ‘Move On Move Up’ campaign are also encouraging increased partnership working between schools, the council and other partners to improve attainment for pupils.

“With the combined efforts and dedicated co-operation between the council, education commissioners, schools and partners, we are committed to driving up education standards in Doncaster.”

A total of 8,157 pupils in Doncaster claim free school meals, and with a school population of 47,695 this equates to 17.1 per cent of the borough’s students.

This is some 1.9 per cent higher than the national average of 15.2 per cent, revealed in Government documents last year.

In addition, only 62.69 per cent of the borough’s schools have been inspected since 2014.

However, the Department of Education states that schools should receive visits from inspectors at least once every three years.

Some three schools - all of which received an outstanding rating - have not been visited by Ofsted in nine years.

While the Department of Education suggests that schools that receive an outstanding rating should be inspected less frequently than those in receipt of lower grades, the DoE recently increased the frequency of those inspections to once every seven years to once every three years for the top tier schools.