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

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

Oxford United buoyed by Roberts news

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014

MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.

Oxford train commuters delayed

Oxford Mail: oxford train station inside

9:10am Wednesday 26th November 2014

Trains going from London Paddington to Oxford were delayed yesterday by signalling problems at Ealing Broadway.

Ex-British Legion man on fly tipping charge

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:10am Wednesday 26th November 2014

A former Royal British Legion repatriation family liaison officer has appeared in court charged with fly tipping.

Westgate Shopping Centre's £400m expansion approved by city councillors

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 26th November 2014

THE £400m overhaul of the Westgate Shopping Centre was given final approval last night, clearing the way for work to begin in the new year.

Police are called in over death of Connor Sparrowhawk

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 26th November 2014

POLICE are investigating the death of teenager Connor Sparrowhawk, who died in the bath at a Headington NHS facility last year.

Rose Hill parents' 'little miracle' Jesse

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 26th November 2014

A YEAR ago Jesse Malone’s parents were not sure if he would survive after being born at just 24 weeks.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

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