Seaside schools are “letting pupils down”

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Seaside schools are failing their poorest pupils who are now lagging behind their inner city counterparts, the Government’s chief schools inspector has warned.

The revelation comes from Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw in a new report just published called Access and Achievement which shows inner city areas had been replaced by deprived seaside and countryside towns as the ones most likely to be failing their children.

“Today, many of the disadvantaged children performing least well in school can be found in leafy suburbs, market towns or seaside resorts,” said Sir Michael.

“These poor, unseen children can be found in mediocre schools the length and breadth of our country. They are labelled, buried in lower sets, consigned as often as not to indifferent teaching. They coast through education until – at the earliest opportunity – they sever their ties with it.”

Sir Michael has also said top teachers should be sent into rescue failing seaside schools and those teachers should be contracted by the government to “parachute” into schools in trouble and deemed to be failing their disadvantaged pupils

He said, “The most important factor in reversing these trends is to attract and incentivise the best people to the leadership of underperforming schools in these areas. This may require government to work with Teaching Schools to identify and incentivise experienced and effective teachers to work in less fashionable, more remote or challenging places. The concept of a ‘National Service Teacher’ should be considered.”

National Service Teachers would be employed and funded by central government to teach in schools and areas of the country that are deemed to be failing their disadvantaged pupils.

Russell Hobby from the National Association of Head Teachers, said, “Rural and coastal areas have specific pressures and, though our inner cities have shown these sorts of disadvantages can be overcome, energies need to be focused and a longer-term solution would be to in communities, to ensure opportunities exist to inspire young people.”