Struggling Hartlepool schools ‘improving’ after featuring on list of shame

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

An education chief says ‘real progress’ is being made to improve Hartlepool secondary schools after the town featured in the bottom 10 nationally of an Ofsted report.

In December, Ofsted’s Annual Report 2014/15 put Hartlepool in the lowest 10 authorities in England for the proportion of students, 47.5%, in good or outstanding secondary schools compared to 88% of primary pupils.

Councillor Chris Simmons

Councillor Chris Simmons

The figures were based on the most recent Ofsted school inspection results.

Councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of Hartlepool council’s Children’s Services Committee, says council officers are working hard with regional Ofsted inspectors to turn things around.

He previously said the figures were flawed as Hartlepool only has five secondary schools and Ofsted’s report only reflected the performances of three that had been inspected recently.

Coun Simmons said: “In Hartlepool, we are already doing an awful lot to improve education.

“Our desire is to have all our schools as good or outstanding.

“There should be no issue where you send your child you get the same standard and quality of education.”

A group of five Hartlepool councillors prepared a motion at the last full council meeting inviting Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw to come to Hartlepool to help the authority improve.

But Coun Jonathan Brash withdrew the motion after hearing work was already taking place between the council and regional Ofsted inspectors.

Coun Simmons said of Hartlepool’s secondary schools two are rated good, two require improvement and one is classed as inadequate.

But he added: “If you look at those schools now you would see in each case real progress has taken place.

“I don’t want to undermine that progress and the progress being made by officers with the regional inspectors.”

Coun Simmons added Hartlepool’s GCSE performance has improved significantly over recent years and last year the town’s pass rate was just 2% off the national average.

He added out of the town’s 30 primary schools, six are classed as outstanding by Ofsted, 20 are good and four as requiring improvement.

“That to me demonstrates in Hartlepool we are doing a pretty good job, certainly with primary schools,” said Coun Simmons.

The issues will be monitored by the Children’s Services Committee.