The inspection of Bournemouth council was conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectors between 9 and 13 December 2013. The inspection was carried out because the council had one of the lowest proportion of pupils attending a good or better primary and secondary school.
However, inspectors have found that actions taken by Bournemouth’s school improvement services have had a positive impact on the quality of education in its schools. Improvement has also been confirmed by the increase in the proportion of pupils who attend a good or better primary school.
The letter sets out that Bournemouth’s vision for its schools is ambitious where partners involved understand and share the drive for all pupils to attend a good or better school by the end of 2015. School leaders recognise their personal responsibility for school improvement and the local authority’s role to champion excellence through support and challenge.
Bournemouth’s decision to act as a broker and encourage schools to form collaborative trusts where schools are providing school-to-school challenge and support has been especially effective.
As a result of these effective measures and the council’s scrutiny of pupils’ progress and attainment, children’s progress at the end of primary school has improved and has done so at a faster rate than seen nationally. However, pupils’ progress in mathematics has not improved as much as in reading and writing when compared with national rates of improvement.
The outcomes for children gaining five or more GCSE at A* to C including English and maths is also good with 64% of pupils achieving this result, which is higher than the national figure (61%).
However, more could be done for children from poor backgrounds. The attainment gap between children eligible for free school meals and their peers vary widely from school to school. Tackling this unacceptable inequality is an urgent issue for the local authority and its schools.
Bradley Simmons, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the South West said:
Much credit goes to Bournemouth council, who working along with school leaders is providing effective support and challenge to ensure more children are now going to a good or better school.
However, more still needs to be done. The education gap between children on free school meals and their peers must be addressed. We will closely monitor this to ensure improvements are made for children from disadvantaged background.
Areas where Bournemouth needs to improve include:
- Making sure that collaborative trusts focus their efforts on narrowing the gap between the attainment and progress of pupils supported by the pupil premium funding and others.
- Taking urgent steps to promote the sharing of best practice in the teaching of mathematics across the collaborative trusts
The report is published on the Bournemouth page on Ofsted’s reports website.
Notes to editors
Kevin Jane, Her Majesty’s Senior Inspector for South West will be available for interviews on Friday 31 January 2014. Please call Ofsted’s Press Office for interview requests.
The framework for the inspection of local authority arrangements for supporting school improvement
The local authority school improvement framework, which took effect in June 2013, enables Ofsted for the first time to inspect the school improvement functions of any local authority where there are concerns that the statutory duty to improve school standards is not being met. This may include areas where the performance of schools has declined.
Inspections under the new local authority school improvement framework will not be universal and Ofsted will inspect only where there are concerns about performance or where requested to do so by the Secretary of State. Local authorities will receive up to five days’ notice of an inspection.