Veteran head defends schools

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A veteran Peterborough head teacher has hit out at city MP Stewart Jackson after he called for a root and branch overhaul of secondary education in the city.

Eric Winstone, the former principal of Ormiston Bushfield Academy and who retired a few weeks ago after more than 40 years in education, said Mr Jackson’s comments were too harsh.

He said that Mr Jackson had ignored the fact that Peterborough had a number of outstanding schools.

Mr Winstone said: “There are many good things that are happening in Peterborough schools.”

“Mr Jackson probably does understand the issues but he needs to appreciate the progress that Peterborough schools have made.

“Year on year improvements have been taking place in many schools.”

The MP’s comments came after new school league tables showed that Peterborough is in the bottom 20 at 134th place out of the 151 local authorities in England and Wales for GCSE results.

However, Peterborough was ranked 35th for its A-level results.

There are currently two schools - the Voyager Academy and Bishop Creighton Academy - that have been placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Mr Jackson said: “Nothing now is as important as driving up academic standards and the time for excuses has got to end.

“We need a root and branch overhaul of secondary education in Peterborough and the city council must make this their top priority.”

But Mr Winstone said: “Our schools have come a long way in three years but this is not reflected in the league tables.

“Education in Peterborough is in a good position.

He said “While there is a long way to go for Peterborough to become outstanding there are a number of outstanding schools and a number of very good schools.”

He pointed out that the national league tables only track local authorities yet they do not have control over all the schools.

He added: “So some criticism should be targeted at academy sponsors.”