Town hall hits back as inspectors slam ‘systematic failure’

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Education bosses in Blackpool have today hit back after inspectors criticised “systematic failures” at the town hall which it claims have led to thousands of teenagers getting an inadequate education.

Ofsted has spoken out further following the official publication of an inspection into measures to support school improvement at Blackpool Council.

The contents of the report were revealed last Friday in The Gazette.

But in further stinging criticism following the official publication,Ofsted’s director for the North West, Jo Morgan, said: “It is extremely concerning that, despite being judged ‘ineffective’ in November 2013, so little progress has been made by the local authority to support school improvement.

“A situation now exists in Blackpool where more than 2,500 secondary school students are being educated in provision that is not good enough.

“Our evidence shows the local authority’s school improvement strategy is not fit for purpose, with officers failing to quickly identify and tackle underperformance in the town’s schools.

“There has been a systematic failure to promote school-to-school support and senior leaders have not been held sufficiently to account.”

The report follows an inspection in December 2014, which came after the authority was judged to be ‘inadequate’ in November 2013.

But the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Ivan Taylor, today said the authority is determined to put things right.

He said: “Ofsted recognises the good results in our primary schools.

“In comparison, our secondary school results are poor but the local authority has and will continue to work with our secondary schools, six out of seven of which are academies and therefore not council schools, to improve performance.

“We have a plan and a determination to carry it out.”

The report claims chances are “extremely limited” for secondary school pupils to get a good education in the resort.

And inspectors said the council has not done enough to reduce inequality between different groups of children.

The inspectorate did acknowledge some areas to be “optimistic” about, including new leadership acknowledging that things need to change.

And the resort’s primary schools are continuing to prepare pupils well.

Ofsted will continue to monitor Blackpool’s arrangements for school improvement in order to encourage greater progress in raising standards in schools.