Cabinet member for children defends Havering schools as ‘outstanding’

Cllr Robert Benham

Cllr Robert Benham - Credit: Archant

Schools in the borough are achieving “outstanding” results, Havering’s cabinet member for children has said.

Cabinet member for children and learning Cllr Robert Benham defended the performance of Havering schools after the Recorder reported that the borough ranked worst in London for its overall Ofsted ratings.

“Havering does incredibly well nationally, given its low government funding,” he said.

“People from outside the borough queue up to come into our schools. We are at the top for pretty much all assessments in the country.

“We should be celebrating the hard work of our pupils, teachers and headteachers.”

In Year 1, screening tests show 85per cent of Havering students meet all the government criteria compared with a national average of 81pc.

Sats exams in reading, writing and maths at the end of key stage one (Year 2) is also above the national average, with Havering ranking fifth in the country for writing, 12th in reading and 19th in maths.

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This year’s key stage two exams, which also includes spelling, punctuation and grammar, were “the best results that Havering has had for many years”, explained Cllr Benham – with Havering schools achieving 62pc, higher than the 52pc national achievement rate.

This led to the borough being ranked eighth out of 152 local authorities in the country for key stage two (Year 6), and top for the science assessment.

GCSE results increased 4.6pc, compared to a national decline, and A-level results peaked with a 99.9pc pass rate.

His comments come after the Recorder published data from independent watchdog website Watchsted, which analyses Ofsted results, showing 29.6pc of 74 schools inspected under framework implemented in 2012 were rated as inadequate or requiring improvement.

Data provided by the council shows that out of 64 schools inspected since 2012, 24 were given a grade three or four.

But Cllr Benham said: “Our schools have a high reputation and high standards and figures don’t reflect the current situation.

“The most powerful thing is the pupils’ performance. At the end of the day, parents send their pupils to schools to learn.”

A council officer said a new Ofsted framework was introduced in 2015 and so the study was “not measuring like for like” .

She added the ranking was very tight and could change quickly.

“It’s an exciting time for education, with two housing zones announced and two new schools going to be built and The Mawney School, which is due to be rebuilt,” said Cllr Benham.

“The school expansion programme will give more Havering pupils the excellent education we offer.”