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Editor’s comment: Schools need firm action, and quickly

PUBLISHED: 12:16 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 15 December 2017

Havering's secondary schools are performing below the national average. Picture: David Davies/PA

Havering's secondary schools are performing below the national average. Picture: David Davies/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

This week’s news from Ofsted, that Havering’s secondary schools are the second worst performing in London, will be an unwelcome surprise to many – much as it was to me.

I was fortunate enough to go to Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Upminster for both my GCSEs and A-levels, and to learn that education across the borough has stagnated since I left is a shock.

There is no doubt that under-funding and staffing shortages have made life more difficult in our schools, but these are both national problems that it seems other boroughs have found much more progressive and effective answers to.

Havering Council rightly points out that the academisation of secondary schools means it should not shoulder all of the responsibility for this week’s shocking announcement.

But one would hope that the Improvement Board it set up earlier this year will get the ball rolling on sorting out this mess sooner rather than later.

A number of my friends are teachers, both in Havering and across England, and I know the hard work being done by individuals in classrooms across the country is not being reflected in results at the moment.

It is a systematic problem, that for too long has been viewed as one that can be sorted out by a minor adjustment here, or a radical change to GCSE grading systems there.

It has reared its ugly head on the front page of the Recorder already in recent months – when Coopers’ announced it was cutting A-level creative subjects from its curriculum.

Knowing the school, I’m sure that was an agonising decision made with extreme apprehension, but the sad truth is the situation called for a radical solution.

It seems other schools across the borough are now in need of radical solutions of their own, and quickly.

I firmly believe Havering’s schools are better than Ofsted says they are.

But now it’s time for them to prove it.

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