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Leicester schools, compared with second division football

Even though when it comes to sports Leicester impressed everybody this year, the same thing cannot be said about the education scene. Recently, Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw criticized the city’s schools, claiming they lack ambition and comparing their achievements to second division football.

In the report he released, Mr. Wilshaw said that the whole East Midlands region should put more effort into raising achievement, as the region is the worst performing in the UK on a range of key indicators.

“The problems in this region symbolise more than anywhere else the growing educational divide between the South and the rest of England that I highlighted in my last Annual Report,” he said, according to Leicester Mercury.

He also wanted to point that in the whole region, there are just a few performing multi-academy trusts , despite the support they have received from local authorities. Still, the report doesn’t include just negative aspects, as it highlighted some of the best practice in the city, like the Babington Community College, from Beaumont Leys, and the Christ the King Primary, from Glenfield Road.

“We have made big improvements to the education system in the city and we’re ambitious in our outcomes for those children in the early years and beyond. We have made significant improvements and many of our schools have been judged by Ofsted to be good or outstanding in the last four or five months alone,” said councilor Sarah Russel, assistant city mayor for children and schools.

Like expected, not all reactions were similar to Mrs. Russel’s. Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, for example, had a more direct reply, claiming that the report might have negative effects on the educational environment of the whole region.

“It is disappointing that Ofsted has issued a release which makes a sweeping generalisation about education across an entire region. It risks damaging the morale of staff, pupils and parents,” he said. “The majority of schools in the East Midlands are judged by Ofsted to be outstanding or good, just as they are across England. Those schools which are struggling are in this position for a variety of reasons and it is important to understand these specific factors in order to address them,” Trobe added.

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Barnaby Parsons

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