Along with more children attending a good or outstanding school compared to last year, the Ofsted Annual Report 2015/16 also states that the gap between the numbers of children eligible for free school meals (FSM) who achieve a good level of development compared to their peers has seen a large decrease. Improvements for all children have also been made.
The report places Southend joint top nationally for primary performance by area, with 100% of primary schools being judged good or outstanding at the time of the report, a remarkable rise of 34% in just 4 years.
On secondary performance, Southend-on-Sea comes 23rd nationally, with 95% of schools judged good or outstanding, a rise of 9% since 2015 and 19% since 2012.
James Courtenay, Executive Cllr for Children and Learning, says: “The hard work of the Borough’s teachers, governing bodies, pupils and parents, along with the council is being rewarded and is starting to bear fruit.
“The council is committed to supporting every child and school in the Borough to be the best it can be, and to see these rises is excellent news.
“Even accounting for way the data is collected, all areas are on a level playing field and our numbers are still on a significant upward curve which is great to see. We will continue to work hard through the newly established Education Board to improve standards and outcomes further and continue to close the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.”
In addition, Southend was one of only three Local Authorities in the East of England to perform above the national level in each of the new attainment measures.
Southend achieved the strongest average attainment 8 score regionally (53.3, 3.4 points above the national) and had the strongest performance for the achievement of EBacc, with over a third achieving it (33.7%). Locally, 68.5% achieved a GCSE in English and mathematics at grades A* to C, the second highest rate for the region.
The news was unveiled at a meeting of the newly formed Southend Education Board, which was set up to enable the local authority to continue to influence education policy and strategy and improve engagement between the council, its schools and academies.
Maurice Sweeting, Chair of the Southend Education Board and local school Governor welcomed the excellent news, saying: “This reflects the hard work undertaken by all involved in the education of our children, and we hope that the establishment of the new Board will provide greater opportunities for all those involved in education across Southend-on-Sea to work more effectively and achieve even greater progress.”