Bradford is rejecting Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who described the schools as being ‘mired in mediocrity’ and ‘failing generation after generation’. This comes after the worrying statistics that showed how poorly schools in the Midlands and north of England are performing when compared to schools in the south of the country.
In his last speech Wilshaw criticised Bradford and 12 other local authorities for ‘failing to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they and their country need’. ‘Bradford is a large local authority. It is responsible for more than 200 schools educating almost 100,000 children, of whom almost 40,000 are in schools that are less than good. More than 8,000 of these children are in inadequate schools. What on earth have the political leaders been doing over the years in this major city?’ ‘I believe the situation is so bad that a commission of inquiry should be set up to investigate the problem. Bradford needs its own commissioner.’ he continued.
The director of children’s services for Bradford, Michael Jameson, was appointed to run the areas schools just over a year ago, he explains how he was surprised by Ofsted’s statement as he says they ‘recently endorsed our self-evaluation and endorsed our strategy and the action we are taking,’ ‘We’re not hiding from anything, we’re being very open and transparent, and we have a clear plan. The key question for us is: are we doing everything we can to accelerate improvement in our schools?’ explains Jameson.
However Bradford’s Local Government Association chief claims that the results failed to take into account changes in school structures which saw free schools and academies, which included over 60% of all the areas secondary schools, move outside of their control. In response Wilshaw then admitted that the LGA has no power to intervene with these schools, other than ‘make a noise’ and complain to Ofsted to encourage them intervene.
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