A damning overview of the education delivered by schools in Swindon has today been released by OfSTED, the inspectorate regime on England. In a strongly worded letter to headteachers, chief executives of multi-academy trusts, senior political leaders, governors, the local authority and the regional schools commissioner, Bradley Simmons, the HMI’s regional director for the South West has asked for parties to unite and ensure that pupils in Swindon get the education they deserve.
Citing data that the 2016 phonics outcomes for Swindon are some of the poorest in the country, with only 75% of 6-year-olds meeting the expected standard. This places Swindon in the bottom 10 local authorities nationally. At key stage 1, Swindon’s 7-year-olds are the joint lowest performers in reading in the south-west. This trend continues with only 44% of 11-year-olds reaching the new expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at key stage 2. At GCSE level only 17.3% of pupils, compared with 57% in England as a whole, achieved the English Baccalaureate.
Bradley Simmons said, “Pupils in Swindon are being failed at every level. Primary school performance which had previously shown a positive trend of improvement in Swindon, is now a concern. Recent inspections of five secondary schools in the town also indicate a trend of decline with only one of these schools being rated good. Of the others, one went from good to requires improvement, one failed to improve from requires improvement and two went from requires improvement to inadequate. If Swindon’s pupils are to have the skills and qualifications required to improve their life chances everyone with a responsibility for education needs to take immediate action.”