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Bradford's primary schools performing better, says Ofsted
The number of primary school children in Bradford who attend a “good or outstanding” school has jumped by 17 per cent in the past year, but still more than half of secondary pupils are not taught in schools with those ratings.
The statistics were revealed as education watchdog Ofsted released its annual report into the performance of schools.
It shows that the number of primary school pupils attending a school classed as good or outstanding by the inspecting body rose from 65 per cent in 2012 to 82 per cent in 2013.
It means that the authority jumps in the rankings – from 98th of 150 local authorities for primary schools last year to 54th this year, and puts Bradford on a par with Leeds and Calderdale authorities, and well above York and Kirklees (both 76 per cent).
However, the equivalent figure for secondary schools is much lower. Only 47 per cent of pupils in Bradford attend a school deemed good or outstanding, but this is still a rise from where that figure was a year ago at 27.8 per cent.
When it comes to secondary schools, Bradford ranks a lowly 138 out of 150 local authorities. Both Kirklees and Calderdale have 80 per cent of pupils in good or better schools while Leeds has 69 per cent.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said the turnaround of fortunes was tremendous news for the district.
“Every single primary school has complimented the work of the local authority, and this report puts Bradford in the top half of local authorities when it comes to primary schools,” he said.
“But we are aiming even higher and are coming up with policies to toughen up approach to education.
“This is so important for the future of the district, and for people’s self-belief. It is important we see this rate of improvement. Secondary schools are trailing behind, but they are coming from a lower level. They will get even better as children rise through these good primary schools.”
Kath Tunstall, the Council’s strategic director for children’s services, said: “Without being complacent about the challenges we face, I am delighted with the progress made and I would like to thank all of the schools, children and young people for their continuing hard work and achievements.”
Pam Milner, regional spokesman for the NASUWT teaching union said: “Something is obviously working. If these improvements are maintained then this is something we can really build on. Teachers are working damned hard for this.”
Ian Murch, the district’s spokesman for the National Union of Teachers, said: “It’s great that Bradford is showing substantial improvement. It completely contradicts what Michael Gove said last month about standards in Bradford.”
Despite the gains for Bradford, Ofsted criticised the disparity between different authorities in Yorkshire and the North East. Nick Hudson, Ofsted regional director, said: “Overall there is too much variation. The contrast in education standards across the region is stark.”
In Barnsley, only 22 per cent of secondary school pupils attend a “good” school, compared to 91 per cent in York.
Councillor Roger L’Amie, Conser-vative spokesman for education, said: “The improvements should not go unrecognised, but we just have to look at what we can do in the remaining schools.
“As a parent, would you be happy to know that your child has a one in two chance of going to a secondary school that isn’t considered good? I congratulate the people involved, but there is clearly more work to be done.”
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