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.
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
Update: Bullfinch: More than 350 youngsters potential abuse victims as campaigner calls for action not apologies
7:46am Monday 2nd March 2015
MORE than 350 youngsters in Oxfordshire have been identified as potential victims of groomers, the Oxford Mail understands.
3:52pm Monday 2nd March 2015
The M40 has reportedly been closed northbound between J8 and J8A near the Wheatley services due to an accident.
2:01pm Monday 2nd March 2015
International rap superstar Kanye West is expected in Oxford this afternoon for a talk at the Museum of Natural History.
9:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
THE SKELETON of a woman thought to be nearly 400 years old has been unearthed at an Oxford college.
8:44am Monday 2nd March 2015
PUPILS across the county will find out today whether they have got their first-choice of school as Oxfordshire County Council issues places for secondary schools today.