A report presented to the council’s Children and Young People’s Committee today, containing results from recent OFSTED school inspections, highlighted that five Nottinghamshire Primary schools have seen their status downgraded, including four primary schools which previously rated ‘Outstanding’ which have now been downgraded to ‘Good’, and one school being downgraded as ‘Inadequate’, the lowest OFSTED rating possible.
Although three schools have improved, three remain either ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requiring Improvement’.
Labour Group Councillor Anne Callaghan, who sits on the Children and Young People’s Committee said: “I am deeply concerned about schools which have regressed, but also equally concerned about the community schools and academies which we already know aren’t doing very well and which continue not to show any signs of improvement.
“When the report uses words like “Leaders are not providing a good enough quality of education”, that is unambiguous, it’s shocking really.
“The Conservative leadership of Nottinghamshire County Council need to do more to work with these schools and academies, to get to grips with why they aren’t improving, and to be open with the public about how they’re going to improve.
“We know this isn’t good enough, all schools in Nottinghamshire should be rated Outstanding or Good at the very least, but there doesn’t really seem to be a plan for some underperforming schools to get there.”
Councillor Callaghan also said: “It does make me question whether this Council’s leadership really have any ambition to see genuinely see improvement in Nottinghamshire schools? Given the responses from some members, who would rather talk about other schools which weren’t relevant to the report brought forward today, it seems to me that the Conservatives would rather bury their heads in the sand than take action, which is letting families and children down.”
Another report presented to the same committee highlighted the growing number of Elective Home Education, up 26.1% in 2021 on the previous year, and additional concerns were raised as to the number of children who are ‘unseen’, those potentially not declared in any educational setting, confirmed by Steve Edwards, Service Director for Youth, Families & Social Work, who said: “There will be children unseen that we don’t know about.”
Discussing the potential of a national register for children who should be in education as a potential solution to ensure no children are left behind, Marion Clay, Service Director for Education, Learning and Skills, said: “The numbers have been increasing for some time. We simply do not know how many children are born and not registered for education.”
Speaking after the meeting on the issue of children out of formal school settings, Councillor Callaghan said: “There were many assuring words about the quality of the Elective Home Education in the Council chamber, and although it may be the case for some of these children that they are having a fantastic education at home, there isn’t any detailed information or evidence provided in any meaningful way to this Committee for us to scrutinise and determine that this is genuinely the lived experience of Nottinghamshire children outside of the school setting.
“I will need to see more if I’m to be convinced that many of these children aren’t simply being left behind.
“It’s clear this council could do more, and I am also worried that as we move to the new leader and cabinet system, uncomfortable issues like this will not come to light for further scrutiny.”