The performance of schools across Swindon is a cause for serious concern, said Ofsted today.
The schools inspectorate has published a letter calling on headteachers, chief executives of multi-academy trusts, senior political leaders, governors, the local authority and the regional schools commissioner to unite and ensure that pupils in Swindon get the education they deserve.
Bradley Simmons, Ofsted Regional Director for the South West, said that he had raised these concerns to Swindon Borough Council on at least 3 separate occasions.
The 2016 phonics outcomes for Swindon are some of the poorest in the country, with only 76% of 6 year olds meeting the expected standard. This places Swindon in the bottom 10 local authorities nationally.
At key stage 1, Swindon’s 7 year olds are the joint lowest performers in reading in the south west. This trend continues with only 44% of 11 year olds reaching the new expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at key stage 2. At the end of secondary school, only 17.3% of pupils compared with 22.8% in England as a whole, achieved the English Baccalaureate in 2016.
Bradley Simmons said:
Pupils in Swindon are being failed at every level. Primary school performance which had previously shown a positive trend of improvement in Swindon, is now a concern.
Recent inspections of five secondary schools in the town also indicate a trend of decline with only one of these schools being rated good. Of the others, one went from good to requires improvement, one failed to improve from requires improvement and two went from requires improvement to inadequate.
If Swindon’s pupils are to have the skills and qualifications required to improve their life chances everyone with a responsibility for education needs to take immediate action.
Ofsted has written this letter to ensure that no key player in Swindon’s schools can be in any doubt of the seriousness of these concerns.