Top marks for Wandsworth schools

Published: Wednesday 28th November 12

Wandsworth is one of the best places in the country to go to school, new figures show.

Better schools = more choice campaignThe borough ranks tenth in a brand-new league table published by Ofsted of the standard of primary schools in English local authorities.  The borough's primary children have an 86 per cent chance of attending a good or outstanding school - the tenth best figure in the country. Wandsworth was one of only three inner London boroughs to reach the top ten.

The league table is the first of its kind to be published and ranks local authorities using the results of school inspection reports. It aims to highlight the gaps in performance between local authorities with similar demographics.

When secondary schools and special schools are taken into account, the figure is even better - 89 per cent of Wandsworth's secondary schools are rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted and a hundred per cent of the special schools.  This places the borough in the top ten on both counts out of 151 local authorities nationally for the quality of its schools.

Since June, when Ofsted's data was compiled, a further three Wandsworth schools have been inspected and have improved. Our Lady Queen of Heaven RC Primary School, Granard Primary and St Mary's RC Primary are now good or outstanding.  This means that, overall, the borough's position is now even better, with 91 per cent of its schools now judged good or outstanding.  No Wandsworth schools are judged to be inadequate.

The report says that standards at academies, especially sponsor-led academies in chains, tend to perform well. Wandsworth has always encouraged the creation of academies and free schools as part of its commitment to raise standards and increase choice in education. Two new academies - the Bolingbroke Academy and the ARK Putney Academy - have recently opened run by the education charity ARK.  This means that six of the borough's eleven secondary schools are now academies, and three new primary free schools plan to open next September.

A new network of teaching schools has also been identified in the report as a key factor in driving up standards by sharing best practice. Belleville Primary School, Southfields Academy and Chesterton Primary School are all approved teaching schools, and have a leading role in the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and headteachers at local schools.

The council is also embarking of a programme of improvements to school buildings. Extensive work has been carried out at Burntwood School and Southfields Academy , and the former Elliott school building, now the ARK Putney Academy , will be extensively renovated.  The council has also spent millions of pounds improving and extending primary school buildings.

The council's education spokesman, Cllr Kathy Tracey, welcomed the new report.

"We set ourselves a clear target of ensuring all our schools are good or outstanding, and we're close to achieving that.  We want all our young people to achieve their full potential, and ensuring they get the best possible education, whatever their background, is key to this. These excellent results are down to the hard work of all our staff, students, parents and council officers.

"We think parents should get as much information as possible about the performance of schools, so that they can make informed choices. Therefore we welcome this report and are pleased it shows our policy of driving up standards and increasing choice is paying off."

Read the Ofsted report

Read more about the council's Better Schools More Choice campaign

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Recent comments

"The gulf between the average attainment of most pupils and those from the least prosperous backgrounds is narrowing slightly in primary ´┐╝schools but has remained constant in secondary schools. The biggest worry is those schools in which disadvantaged pupils form a relatively small minority of the population. Over 400,000 disadvantaged pupils are in schools where they form a minority of less than 20% of all pupils. Although some individual schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged pupils have had more success in tackling this issue, it remains a systemic weakness." Wandsworth, as a relatively privileged borough needs to see how well it deals with this gap before it congratulates itself for its success with the cream of the crop.
Jennifer Stiens

29 November 2012