Local authority’s response ‘positive’

Ofsted’s regional head told the Gazette that the county council’s response to the stinging criticism has been ‘positive’.

Nick Hudson, Ofsted regional director for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Certainly the initial response from Coun Arckless from what I’ve seen in the media is that he’s not being defensive and wants to work with us to see what can be done.”

But he was very clear about the problems being faced.

“The key issue is that of a protracted decline in the number of good and outstanding schools,” he said. “Seventy-five per cent of those inspected were less than good and this actually confirms a decline that goes back to 2012.

“The main question is what are the explanations behind the decline.

“What we believe we picked up is that the local authority is not acting with enough decisiveness. They are not being proactive when there are early signs of decline.”

He also believes one of the problems – the assessment of pupils – is a sympton made worse by a three-tier system.

“Individual schools were saying they don’t trust necessarily the data that’s coming from the sending schools,” he said, which he described as less significant in a two-tier system as it happens once, when pupils have just taken an external assessment.