Are Harlow primary schools in crisis?

ARE HARLOW primary schools in crisis or are they on the way up?

On Thursday OFSTED published the reading, writing and maths tables for primary schools in Harlow.

All schools are supposed to ensure that 60 per cent of pupils gain at least “Level 4” in formal reading and maths tests, combined with an informal teacher assessment of children’s writing abilities.

Our report reflected that nine schools had missed that target.

We can tell from our stats that a lot of people looked at the story. Many thought our take was too negative.

We are also conscious that a newspaper that only launched in July, may not be in full receipt of the facts or fully understand the landscape of a town.

And our job and our mission statement is to get a debate going in the town.

So, it has not escaped our notice that a number of Ofsted reports for Harlow primary schools have not been good. As of December 2013, Latton Green, Kingsmoor Academy, St James, Roydon and Potter Street are all in special measures.

If Harlow was a local education authority then it would be the worst in the country for the percentage of primary schools that are either rated Outstanding or Good.

Only 48% of Harlow primary schools have received that rating. 59% of Thurrock primary schools are rated Good or Outstanding. Despite improving by 10% in the past year, that percentage still puts that borough’s schools near to the bottom of a pretty might mountain.

For your information, we also looked at Basildon and 52% of their primary schools are ranked Good or Outstanding.

We have no doubt that the work of the Harlow Education Collective, the growing Trusts where senior heads such as Passmores principal, Vic Goddard and Burnt Mill Academy head Helena Mills will lead Harlow schools up the mountain.

We would hope that people look at the remarkable success stories around the town such as Milwards, Holy Cross and Pear Tree Mead, to name just three and discover what they may learn from them.

It is also important that many others come to the party. There are a lot of parents in Harlow who may need to have a long hard look at themselves and ask if they are giving their child the best chance in life.

It is also vital that local politicians in the town, have a look at their role. As you may or may not know, education is run by Essex County Council and not Harlow Council. But should Harlow councillors be more involved, more vocal and wave the flag a little bit more for their primary schools.

Harlow is a town that is changing. You can’t stop it as you could not change what happened in 1947. But it is important that this generation and the next generation get the best opportunities for the future.

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