Rise in Somerset schools rated ‘good or better’ by inspectors

Teachers and pupils are welcoming a boost in the number of Somerset’s primary and secondary schools being rated ‘good or better’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Figures discussed at Somerset County Council’s Scrutiny Committee today show the county now has a higher ranking among England’s 150 local authorities for both high-performing primary and secondary schools.

87% of Somerset’s primary schools have been judged ‘good’ or above in 2014. This is up from 67% in 2012 and exceeds the national average of 80%. Somerset now ranks 34 out of 150 local authorities for its primary schools, compared to 65 in 2013.

Somerset’s secondary schools also have cause to celebrate, with almost three-quarters (70%) rated ‘good’ or above compared to 63% in 2013.

This means Somerset now ranks 78 out of 150 local authorities for high-performing secondary schools, compared to 108 in 2012 and 2013.

There is also good news for:

  • Somerset’s 5 year-olds: 61% have reached “a good level of development” in 2014, up from 53% in 2013.
  • Seven year-olds: even more children are hitting national targets for reading (91%), writing (88%) and maths (93%).
  • 78% of 11 year-olds, who are achieving national targets for reading, writing and maths.

A slight fall in the number of 16-year-olds achieving five or more A* to C GCSE grades in Somerset is currently predicted for 2014 in line with a national trend.

But the true picture will not emerge until January 2015 when regional and national data for GCSE performance will become available.

Somerset County Council has already committed £1m to be spread across three years as part of the ‘Somerset Challenge’, £330,000 of which has already been allocated to improving GCSE results. This, and other, school-led initiatives are supported by the Somerset Headteachers’ groups.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “These figures show that Somerset’s primary and secondary schools are headed in the right direction.

“I am pleased that more of Somerset’s youngsters are achieving nationally-set targets in their education, and many others exceeding those expectations.

“With Somerset County Council’s clear commitment to improving Somerset’s school performances, and GCSE results in particular, the future described by these improvements looks more promising for education in the county.”