The standard of education in Peterborough is “nowhere near where it wants to be”, according to the city council’s assistant director for education.
Gary Perkins made the acknowledgement at a Children & Education Scrutiny Committee meeting last Thursday.
His comment follows the publication of a council report which shows primary school children of all backgrounds in Peterborough continue to achieve far less than their equivalents nationally.
The city’s schools (many of which are academies) came second bottom for Year 6 SATs results in the past three years.
Mr Perkins told the committee that “in many cases we are still sending our children to primary school unable to read or write”.
He added: “While there has been a steady, continual, year on year improvement in terms of attainment in Key Stage 2, this has not seen a closing of the gap between the national average, or even the local averages for children of all backgrounds, and only a very slight improvement in maths and English compared with 2017.
“I acknowledge that Peterborough’s schools must treat every piece of momentum, no matter how small it may be, as an achievement in its own right, but the standard of education in the city and in the rural schools is still nowhere near where it wants to be and is well below the national average in each of these Key Stages.”
The schools which the council has concerns about have all been contacted and offered direct support. The maintained schools have a named adviser working alongside them, and each has produced an action plan.
At academies, the CEO of the trust has been contacted by Mr Perkins with an offer to work in greater partnership.
Cllr Angus Ellis (Labour, Bretton) pointed out: “These figures are not very good at all, are they Mr Perkins? There has been virtually no improvement overall in reading and writing, despite the claims of your report, and that simply has to improve. I want to see more improvements over the next few years across the comparator levels used to determine these outcomes.”
Mr Perkins said GCSE results have “significantly improved since 2016” but admitted youngsters remain well below the national average. Cllr Mohammed Farooq (Hargate and Hempsted, Conservative) asked Mr Perkins if he has looked at the city’s best performing schools and used them as a model to improve the poorer performing ones.
Mr Perkins said: “Yes, but you have to understand that these schools are all very independent and cannot be forced to adopt education principles from other schools, no matter how well they may appear to be doing.”