Department for Education
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Commenting on the Annual Report of Her Majestys Chief Inspector of Schools 2006/07 published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) today, Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools and Learners, said
Commenting on the Annual Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools 2006/07 published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) today, Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools and Learners, said
"This annual report is the most positive and encouraging assessment that we have seen of our schools. It highlights the great progress we have made but also the scale of the challenge ahead of us to create world class standards in every school and college in every part of the country.
"Against tough inspection standards, more schools are outstanding, the proportion of inadequate schools is lower, and Ofsted's close monitoring of schools where there have been concerns in the past is paying off. I am particularly pleased that the report highlights the impact that strong and effective leadership of schools can make to pupils' progress. The report is a testament to the hard work of teachers, schools and early years professionals.
"Overall, inspection evidence across the board shows a broadly positive picture and I am pleased that the work of the great majority of providers is meeting demanding Ofsted standards. The report says that improvements are evident across childcare, education, and adult skills.
"This report confirms that our reforms are on the right track. All schools and nurseries now have access to high-quality, engaging classroom materials to help them teach phonics, and the Every Child a Reader pilot is helping six year olds with literacy problems learn to read. Our changes to the secondary curriculum will mean more engaging and interesting lessons for pupils and, for teachers, more flexibility to tailor teaching to pupils' needs and aspirations. Changes to history and citizenship classes will put understanding core British values at the heart of teaching. Our new duty on schools to promote community cohesion will help all children understand how they fit in to the world around them. New Diplomas and our plans to raise the participation age to 18 will engage more young people in education and training and give them a foot in the door to the world of work.
"But as well as highlighting progress, the report asks some very pertinent questions. All of us involved in services for children and young people must constantly ask ourselves how their experiences of education and care can help improve their chances in life. We know that we must do more to help the poorest, the most disadvantaged and the vulnerable to prosper and succeed. These are harder nuts to crack, but our new department has been established to help us take measures to support every child in the round, and to carry opportunities to those most in need. Only last week we published delivery plans to raise standards, to promote all children's health and wellbeing, and to put every child on the path to success.
"We have invested over £21bn in the early years, and will spend an extra £4bn in the next spending period to give all children the best start in life. We have established 1,500 Sure Start Children's Centres in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country, and are helping them reach out to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
"We are giving all of those working in education and care the resources and the tools to make sure that every child really does matter. We are providing investment and leadership for a greater focus on personalised learning, with appropriate support and schooling for gifted and talented children, those with special educational needs and those falling behind. We want every child to make progress at every stage of their education, whatever their background, gender or ability.
"The report finds that one of the key features of successful schools is high aspirations for pupils' personal and academic success. I know that our ambition for every school to be a good school is shared by everyone working in education.
"We will not be satisfied until we have closed the gap between the poorer and the more affluent, and until every child and young person has the opportunities they deserve to prosper and succeed. Supporting children, young people and their families in the community is integral to helping all children, promoting excellence and closing the achievement gap in schools."
Minister for Children and Young People, Kevin Brennan, added:
"We know that in the past society has failed our children in care, which is why we want local authorities, carers and schools to work together to give children in care a decent start in life. We want them to have the same aspirations and ambitions for these children as they do for their own.
"We are going to make sure that children in care get places in the best schools and help from a designated teacher. Those children in care who need it will get £500 a year to support their education, for example, to buy books and hire tutors. We are also going to give them free access to after-school activities, £100 a year in their Child Trust Fund to build up a nest egg for when they leave care and a £2000 university bursary. It is time for a radical change for these children, so that they get the same sort of opportunities as other children."
NOTES TO EDITORS
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