Schools North East challenges ‘false narrative’ around Darlington schools

Ofsted’s ‘Flight or Fight’ report on stuck schools, released earlier this week, highlighted certain schools as being ‘stuck’, after repeatedly being graded less than ‘Good’. Unfortunately, the report also ‘named and shamed’ Darlington as one of three areas in the country with the highest proportions of ‘stuck’ schools.

Whilst the report acknowledged the importance of taking school context into account, it failed to consider the high levels of long term, high impact disadvantage in Darlington, compared to other areas of the country. Schools North East responded with evidence from Durham University Evidence Centre for Education, and other sources, which shows that when levels of high impact disadvantage are taken into account, Darlington actually performs no worse than anywhere else in the country.

As outlined in our Manifesto for North East Education, Schools North East is committed to challenging the ‘false narrative’ of poor performance that is all too often used to label our region. This narrative is profoundly damaging to our schools, students and hard working teaching professionals.

The Manifesto is a statement of intent and the foundation of our ever stronger focus on influencing the development of education policy, as it impacts on our region. 

Our response was picked up by local and national press. Schools North East Director Chris Zarraga was quoted in the Northern Echo – Schools North East says Ofsted report gives Darlington a ‘false narrative’.

Schools North East Trustee Maura Regan from Carmel College was also interviewed on the issue by 5 News. You can see the full news coverage below.

Schools North East will continue to demand that policymakers properly take the context of North East schools into account. These are issues which we will be exploring further at our Policy Rountable Event, which will focus on the North East’s context and how we can promote a positive narrative around North East education.  We are delighted to announce that we will be joined at the event by Professor Stephen Gorard, from Durham University Evidence Centre for Education.

The workshop is designed to enable school leaders to help Schools North East create detailed recommendations for government and policymakers to act upon. 

The event is free of charge to attend and gives you the chance to contribute to the education policy debate.

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