Ofsted to review educational achievement in deprived communities

By Janaki Mahadevan

| 15 June 2012

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has launched a review of educational achievement in deprived communities, which will seek to explore what young people from disadvantaged backgrounds need to achieve success.

Wilshaw said "radical solutions" are needed to improve education for all children. Image: Ofsted

In a speech to the National College’s annual conference, Wilshaw said that the review comes nearly 20 years after the first Ofsted Access and Achievement in Urban Education report and a decade after the progress report.

He said: “Twenty years ago, Ofsted produced a landmark report, which described the lack of educational success and the paucity of good-quality provision in deprived communities.

“Ten years later, David Bell, the then chief inspector, produced another report under the same headline. What was so depressing was that his report painted a similarly bleak picture of underperformance in these same communities.

“I am asking the educational leaders of this country to take ownership of the situation and show the leadership needed to change the learning landscape. 

“Everyone who agrees that all children deserve a good education needs to work in partnership to introduce the radical solutions needed today to make a real difference for the children of tomorrow.”

The original report, published in 1993, gave recommendations for closing the gap on the educational achievements of children from rich and poor backgrounds in the English education system.

In 2003, the Access and Achievement in Urban Education: 10 Years On report collected data from 1,000 schools in areas of urban deprivation.

Under the latest review, a panel of head teachers, academic experts, local authority and third sector representatives will aim to answer five questions:

  • Why are some children and young people more affected by socio-economic and educational disadvantage than others?
  • What more can be done by parents and education providers to ensure the best possible start for those who need it most?
  • Some schools are doing a great job for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. So what can we learn from them?
  • How do we secure effective co-ordination and improvement of local education services in areas of the greatest educational need when schools and colleges have greater autonomy over their policies?
  • What more needs to happen to ensure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve success in employment?


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