Swindon Council defends against ‘damning’ Ofsted report

Swindon Council has responded to an open Ofsted letter which criticised the ‘poor performance’ of the city’s schools, claiming it did not recognise the claims.

The news comes after Bradley Simmons, Ofsted regional director, said pupils in Swindon were being ‘failed at every level’. The letter cited that only 75 per cent of six year olds were meeting the expected standard, placing Swindon in the bottom 10 local authorities nationally.

Simmons said: “Primary school performance which had previously shown a positive trend of improvement in Swindon, is now a concern. 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.”

The council pointed out that according to Ofsted’s own assessment, 98 per cent of early years settings in Swindon are good or outstanding, and 92 per cent of Swindon primary schools are good or outstanding - above the national average.

The local authority said: “Ofsted inspectors from the South West ran school improvement training sessions for headteachers and governors in July and the Council, in partnership with Ofsted, arranged a follow-up session in September.

“All the work we have undertaken has been with Ofsted’s full knowledge and we believed we had its full support. By making his views so public in this way, Mr Simmons must have recognised the demotivating impact they would have on teachers.

“In fact it has really angered and annoyed many headteachers of good and outstanding schools who are doing an excellent job providing high class education for children and young people whether they are in council maintained schools or academies.”