Tameside schools are far from bottom of the class when it comes to achievement and attainment.
The recently published Ofsted judgement is based on an opinion by inspectors on the performance of schools. It is a subjective measure of many factors such as leadership, capacity to improve, etc. It is unsurprising that it tends to be the more affluent areas that get the better judgements.
However, most parents and pupils prefer to judge schools by the results that their children achieve. This is an objective test based on actual data, which can be verified and doesn’t rely on feelings or impressions. It is the same measure for every school and doesn’t depend on the views of the inspectors who inspect the school that day.
The number of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C grades in Tameside is about average for Greater Manchester and only 1% off the national average. Importantly, Tameside’s results are improving at a much faster rate. GCSE trend which clearly shows Tameside accelerating attainment 5A*-C beyond both our statistical neighbours and the national figure. Also % 5A*-C including English and Maths demonstrates we are now almost in line with our statistical neighbours and have consistently closed gap to national figures since 2007/8.
Despite the controversy over English grades Tameside has continued to improve and was 6th across Greater Manchester in the league table of the number of pupils achieving five or more A* to C Grades including Maths and English.
In terms of our primary schools, the Government’s objective measure of performance is achievement of level 4 in Key Stage 2 in English and Maths. An impressive 82% of our pupils achieve level 4, which is well above the national average and only 3% off the highest in Greater Manchester.
There has been a significant increase in KS2 scores in 2012, both in Tameside and at a national level, but we have consistently maintained the gap above the national position as the following table indicates:
The improvements in Tameside at KS4 over the last few years cannot be underestimated, and it reflects the commitment and determination of staff, governors, pupils and parents in schools across the borough.
Even on Ofsted’s own judgements out of nearly 100 schools, only 2 of our schools are deemed inadequate. Not a single secondary school falls into this category.
It is worth remembering that in 2006, we were achieving below 50% for 5+ A*-C and below 40% for 5+ A*-C including English and Maths whereas now we are at.
Tameside has made significant strides in academic achievement and this can in part be attributed to the significant resources of over £200 million invested in new buildings with the Building Schools for the Future Programme that I have delivered over the last 5 years together with Cllr Gerald Cooney the Executive Member for Learning and Achievement. It is regrettable that this Government chose to end that investment in 2010 cutting off a further £100 million planned investment into our schools and the future of our young people.
The improving journey of achievement also reflects the hard work of staff, governors, pupils and parents who deserve recognition for their dedicated efforts. As always we will continue to do everything we can as a local authority to continue to raise achievement and aspirations in our schools.
The true measure of our success is what our children achieve and we know that this is improving year on year.