Education analysts set to be introduced at North Yorkshire schools to improve teaching standards
A local education authority which has seen the proportion of its schools rated as good or outstanding fall significantly behind the national average has created a team of analysts to send into schools to drive up standards.
North Yorkshire County Council has revealed it will be offering schools help after identifying high-level issues at 23 of its schools and moderate concerns about 79 others, representing a total of 40 per cent of its schools.
While a smaller proportion of the county’s local education authority-run secondary schools have been rated as performing well by Ofsted, as of last month just 80.5 per cent of primary pupils in the county attended a good or outstanding school compared to the national average of 88.2 per cent.
A meeting of the authority’s executive heard the issue was being compounded by the authority being unaware of how well its schools were meeting children’s educational needs because there had been very few Ofsted inspections since the pandemic.
Councillor Patrick Mulligan, the council’s executive member for education, said areas of concern included attendance and exclusion rates, but the figures the council had were dated or likely to have been significantly skewed by the pandemic.
He said: “There could be all sorts of explanations as to why this has happened, but what we are doing is looking at increasing the resources for our school improvement team so they can focus on some of these schools that are not performing as well as they should be.
“We will do everything we can to try and get on top of this, but we are all concerned about it and get things in motion.
“On the whole our children get a very good education. We have got very good teachers and school leadership and that is reflected in our exam results.”
Cllr Mulligan said the council was continuing to examine the reasons behind why its schools had received lower ratings than average, but he thought the authority was getting on top of the situation having set up a team of analysts to go into schools when invited by headteachers.
He added: "There has been a little increase in school funding in the last year or two, but over the years of austerity if schools had to let staff go it is very concerning if that is being reflected in school performance.
"One of the latest things that Ofsted has done is add breadth of curriculum to the inspections, which is quite difficult to do in North Yorkshire schools with just 50 pupils which don’t have the staff levels for some subjects. If that’s the case, then it needs to be taken into account by Ofsted.”
The meeting also heard educational concerns had been raised as the number of home educated children was continuing to soar, with some 871 children being taught at home in the county in June compared with 650 at the end of March 2019.
Members heard while traditionally the authority had concentrated efforts on ensuring home educated children were safe, it had recently started examining the quality of the education being provided.
Councillors were told four home education advisors had been recruited to help families, some of which may not have suitable teaching plans in place having chosen home education as a last resort.