Through the inspections schools in Thurrock will come under scrutiny. Inspectors will observe and analyse lessons in progress, talk to school staff, pupils and parents, and ask staff what the local authority does in terms of challenging and supporting them to improve.
Thurrock’s primary schools compare poorly with the area’s secondary schools, which are in the top 20% of English local authority areas. Thurrock is below the national level when it comes to pupil attainment for 11 year olds in reading, writing and mathematics. Pupils who receive free school meals do less well than in other areas.
Thurrock primary schools are the worst in the East of England for unauthorised absence and exclusion. In all, 1.1% of pupils are absent without consent, which is nearly twice the average proportion for the East of England; while 1.44% of pupils have been excluded, a percentage which is much higher than the 0.85% of pupils in the rest of the region.
Sean Harford, Ofsted Director for the East of England, said:
Too many children in Thurrock leave primary school ill-prepared for their secondary education. While some pupils do well, too many are lagging behind, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. This needs to change.
There are areas in the borough where pupils fare significantly better in similar circumstances. We are going in to diagnose the problems through inspection. That’s the first stage in the path towards a brighter future for children in Thurrock.
Ofsted will carefully consider the evidence once these focused inspections have taken place. There will then follow an outcome letter, addressed to the local authority and made public, which will outline the inspection findings.