Ofsted figures reveal North East schools among the best in the country

North East schools are outpeforming the rest of the country according to education watchdog, Ofsted

School ratings
Children sitting exams in school

North East schools are outpeforming the rest of the country according to new figures from education watchdog Ofsted.

Following the Government department’s latest round of countrywide inspections, the region came out on top with 81.5% of the 1,024 schools inspected achieving an ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.

Schools in North Tyneside are among the best in the country outside of London, with 94% of the borough’s 69 primary and secondary schools ranked either good or outstanding.

This is closely followed by South Tyneside, Newcastle, Durham, Gateshead and Sunderland whose schools all rank above the national average in their recent Ofsted ratings.

Northumberland, however, is lagging 3% behind the national average with 73.9% of its schools rated good or outstanding.

As previously reported in the Journal, evidence from schools inspected across the region up to December 2013 revealed a “North East conundrum” holding back our young people. Figures released in March indicated that the region’s primary schools are among the best in the country, but that many children become lost when they get to secondary school.

The 855 primary schools inspected across the region last year fared better than the rest of the country with no schools classed as inadequate and 20% graded outstanding. This is set against a national average of 2% inadequate and 17% outstanding.

But secondary schools were seen to be trailing behind the rest of the country, with 6% of the 182 secondary schools inspected classed as inadequate (higher than the national average of 5%) and only 19% rated outstanding, below the national rate of 23%.

Schools North East director, Rebecca Earnshaw, admitted that the latest strong set of results were weighted towards primary schools, but that the region’s schools should be collectively congratulated for a strong set of results in recent weeks.

“It’s great to see North East schools doing so well,” she said. “This of course applies to primary and secondary schools. It’s no secret that some of our region’s schools are historically under-funded, especially in the likes of Northumberland, where extra money would go a long way.

“Our primary schools are much stronger than our secondary schools overall, but many of our schools are performing well and should be recognised for their achievements.”

Mark Longstaff, head of commissioning and fair access at North Tyneside Council, praised the work of schools across the borough following a string of successful inspections from Ofsted. He said: “We continue to be delighted at the achievements of our young people in North Tyneside which, together with the excellent partnership and collaboration between schools and the local authority, are reflected in the high ranking our schools have secured.

“We are not complacent, however, and will continue to work to support all children, parents and schools across the borough in improving outcomes.”

In Northumberland, Ponteland Middle School is performing among the best in the country despite being the worst funded middle school in England.

According to Department for Education figures, the school receives the lowest budget share per pupil compared with anywhere in the country.

Despite this gap the school, which has more than 560 pupils, has been rated outstanding by Ofsted inspectors for the past five years.

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