Peterborough’s education chief vows city will see primary school test score improvements after finishing bottom

Jonathan Lewis
Jonathan Lewis
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Peterborough’s education chief has vowed the city will see improvements in primary school test scores after finishing bottom of the latest results table.

Peterborough was ranked 149 out of 149 in the latest provisional Key Stage 2 league tables, with just 52 per cent of youngsters achieving the expected score. The national average was 64 per cent.

The city also finished bottom for results in reading, writing and maths.

Last year, the city finished 149th out of 150 (this year problems with Bedford’s results meant their scores were not published.) The validated results showed 52 per cent of children in the city reached the expected standard last year.

Now Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education at Peterborough City Council, has told parents and teachers standards will improve.

He said: “These results are hugely disappointing - there are good results at some schools - but overall it is not good enough.

“We want to see improvement next year. We have to remember the educational landscape is very different from 10 years ago. Nearly half the primary schools here are now academies, so the authority has less control over what they do. But we have to work with all schools to drive up standards.

“We will see improvement next year. We do not want to be bottom.”

Mr Lewis - who returned to the role of education director six months ago after two years away - said he had ‘high aspirations.’

He said: “We want to get above the national average for results. Those are high aspirations. We are not national average in terms of the challenges we have. We are making every effort to make that change. It will take time to get to that level - we need to be forensic about what we do, and what we can do. Nobody is happy with where we are now - the authority, schools, parents. It will take time to develop the best teachers and governors - but I am confident we will get there. We also need to look at the whole picture - Ofsted have rated most of our schools as Good or Outstanding. These results do not show the progress children make while at primary school.”

The education director said while Peterborough had a number of challenges, including children speaking English as a second language, and pupil churn, the council was now working with Newham council in London - which scored 73 per cent in the latest tables - to try and drive up results.

Mr Lewis said: “We have been working with Newham Council, which is a similar council to Peterborough. We are looking at what they have done, and what we can do.”

Mr Lewis is holding a meeting with primary school heads today (Thursday) - but said it was not just down to the authority and schools to drive results up.

He said: “We need to get more parental support - they can help their children read for example. We also need more great governors to come in and help make a difference. We need a team effort to improve.”

Mr Lewis also said a lot of work was being done to both attract good teachers to the city - and to keep them here once they arrive.

He added: “I came back to Peterborough with my eyes open. It was always going to be challenging, but I came here to make a difference. I am not shying away from the challenge.”