Education chief hits out at schools' 'lack of ambition'

Melinda Tilley

Melinda Tilley

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

SOME people in the county’s schools don’t have enough ambition for their pupils, Oxfordshire’s education chief has claimed.

It comes as figures show that Oxfordshire has failed to meet its target for improving the attainment gap between pupils receiving free school meals and those who don’t.

There are around 540 secondary school pupils receiving free school meals because their parents are given payments such as income support or jobseekers’ allowance.

Figures show that there is a gap of 33 per cent between the average GCSE scores of children who do get free school meals and those that do not, two per cent worse than the previous year. This is significantly larger than Oxfordshire’s target gap of 26 per cent and county councillor Melinda Tilley, the cabinet member for education, called it “shocking”.

She said: “We need to work on this and I think it is all to do with a lack of aspiration in some educational establishments. They think some children are not worth the trouble and we need to shift that quite dramatically.

“I don’t want to pick out anybody in particular but if we don’t have aspiration for these children where are they going to get it?

“Two years ago we set up aspiration networks between good or outstanding schools which go into schools that require improvement and show that what good or outstanding looks like.

“I don’t think we are ambitious enough for children in the care system. ”

Figures show that the gap in Oxfordshire in 2013 was 33 per cent compared to 27 per cent nationally – this means the gap has become wider from 2012 when it was 31 per cent, compared to 26 per cent nationally.

There were 35,910 secondary school pupils this year.

In April ,a report showed 70 per cent of county youngsters whose parents receive benefits are leaving school without five GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths, compared to 62 per cent nationally.

Oxford Mail:

Lynn Knapp.

Windmill Primary School headteacher Lynn Knapp said: “I think we do have to have really high expectations of all children and that really does make a difference.

“Sometimes you do hear of lower ability children not being able to do things but if you give them a chance they could. Parents do this as well, such as saying their child won’t be very good at maths, and the child believes it.”

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

Our top stories

Tackling self-harm prioritised as hospitalisation figure rises

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE number of young people self-harming in the county has risen by more than 100 in a year.

Police station and magistrates' court to be demolished for retirement apartments

Oxford Mail:

9:21pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE Mayor of Wantage tonight said he was "amazed" after a controversial retirement apartments scheme for the town was approved.

Crash between car and motorcycle on the A420

Oxford Mail: a420 alert

5:34pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

A MAN was taken to hospital after a crash between a car and a motorcycle this morning.

Services cancelled between Oxford and Worcester Shrub Hill due to broken down train

Oxford Mail:

5:24pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

Trains have been cancelled on First Great Western services between Oxford and Worcester Shrub Hill due to a broken down train.

Congestion causing delays on buses in and out of Oxford

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

5:19pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

TRAFFIC jams are this evening causing delays for bus passengers in Oxfordshire.

Police helicopter search for man who fled after being stopped at Seacourt Park and Ride

Oxford Mail: thames valley police helicopter

3:20pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE police helicopter was scrambled into action after a motorist stopped on suspicion of using his phone at the wheel fled from traffic officers.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree