Ofsted chief’s praise for schools and council

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for Education, Children's Services and Skills, during his visit to Marus Bridge Primary School

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for Education, Children's Services and Skills, during his visit to Marus Bridge Primary School

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WIGAN is one of “the best local authorities” for supporting schools and maintaining standards, according to the chief inspector of Ofsted.

Sir Michael Wilshaw’s annual report to Parliament praised Wigan Council for intervening in schools struggling to meet the required grades and driving up improvement, saying this has led to significants gains in pupil achievements.

The report also shows 88 per cent of Wigan’s primary school pupils attend good or outstanding facilities, an improvement of five per cent on last year.

However, the percentage of pupils attending a good or outstanding secondary school has dipped by three percentage points since 2013 to 77 per cent, placing Wigan joint 67th in England.

Sir Michael also praised Wigan Council for working extensively with Ofsted’s inspectors over the last 12 months on a targeted improvement programme to drive up standards.

The positive comments are especially impressive for the borough as the rest of the report is highly critical of the North West as a whole, with Sir Michael describing education in the region as “a postcode lottery” and bluntly stating some secondary schools “simply are not good enough”.

However, the report highlights the borough has a huge gap in achievement of 32.2 per cent between those who qualify for free school meals achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths at GCSE compared to those who do not. This is considerably more than the regional average of 29.5 per cent and the England-wide average of 26.7 per cent.

Wigan Council cabinet member for children and young people Coun Jo Platt said: “It’s amazing the chief inspector of Ofsted has described Wigan Council as one of the best authorities in the country but it’s no surprise.

“We know we have fantastic schools in the borough and brilliant council staff working to raise standards. For such an important figure in the educational establishment to recognise this is just wonderful.

“We want all children in Wigan to have the best possible start in life so a lot of hard work goes into driving up standards and making sure no child is left behind.”