Third of Sheffield schools need improvement

Forge Valley Community School.
Forge Valley Community School.
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Almost a third of Sheffield schools are failing or require improvement, according to latest figures from inspection watchdog Ofsted.

A new report provides a snapshot of the effectiveness of all the city’s schools as judged by Ofsted at the end of 2013.

On that date seven were ‘failing’ and were in special measures, while 45 were in the ‘requiring improvement’ category.

Overall 32 per cent were failing to meet standards that would have seen them rated as good or outstanding.

Of the city’s 163 schools 24 are ‘outstanding’ while 87 are ‘good’.

It means Sheffield is lagging behind both regional and national averages – across the country 21 per cent are in the bottom two categories, while for Yorkshire and Humber the figure is 26.

In Rotherham 26 per cent are in the bottom two categories, and in Barnsley 24 per cent – but Doncaster schools are the poorest rated, with 39 per cent failing or needing to improve, the worst in the region.

Sheffield is improving – figures for August 2012 showed at that time 39 per cent of schools failed to reach the two top grades.

Ofsted toughened up its regime last year by scrapping its third category, previously called ‘satisfactory’.

Instead schools in that grade are now labelled as ‘requiring improvement’ and are subject to closer scrutiny.

Ofsted says the new system is not just aimed at schools with inadequate standards, but those who may be ‘coasting’.

The changes were defended by Ofsted’s regional director Nick Hudson who said inspectors were helping to shine a light on the state of education in Sheffield.

And he said the grading change had brought more urgency to the situation, forcing local authorities and governors to take action.

“What we are saying now is that satisfactory is not good enough. We’ve been focusing on schools that had previously been ignored.

“But increased pressure means Sheffield now has a higher percentage of good or outstanding schools than ever before,” he added.