Really good news – the upward trend in education continues as the county’s schools kicked off the New Year in great style as the proportion of Suffolk schools rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted continues to grow.

Truly significant progress is now being made towards the administration’s ambitious objective that all children in Suffolk can attend a Good or Outstanding school by January 2017. Through its Raising the Bar initiative, the county council is tackling levels of educational attainment and is striving to ensure that every child can achieve their full potential.

The percentage of Suffolk schools now rated good or outstanding is at 79%, an improvement of 5% compared to this point exactly one year ago. Admittedly, the projected target for January 2016 was initially for 85% of schools to be rated Good or Outstanding. However, this prediction was based on the evidence available at the time, including the rate at which Ofsted would inspect schools previously judged as requiring improvement.

There remain around twenty schools which are currently rated as “Requires Improvement” which were due to be inspected by the end of 2015, but have not yet been visited by Ofsted due to changes that have taken place in the way that they operate. Previously Ofsted planned to re-inspect “Requires Improvement” schools by the end of four terms, but this has now been amended to within six terms. Whilst the county council recognises the pressures on Ofsted, this has undoubtedly impacted upon its chances of hitting the 2016 target. Our education team, however, remain committed and confident that the overall target set for 2017 will still be achieved.

Suffolk’s GCSE and A-Level results are on the rise

We have also had confirmation of just how well Suffolk teenagers did in their exams last summer. Verified exam results released towards the end of January by the Department for Education show that Suffolk students have performed strongly, and are above the national average at GCSE, A-level, academic and vocational qualifications for the first time in several years. It’s exceptionally pleasing to see this continued improvement in Suffolk’s exam results and this is clear evidence that the county council’s Raising the Bar strategy is paying dividends

The statistics from the Department for Education show that:

  • 54.5% of Suffolk pupils achieved 5 or more A*-C grades including English and Maths

  • The national figure for all schools was 53.8%.

Suffolk’s results have improved by 2.8% from last year’s results and see Suffolk rise in the overall league table from 125 to 106 (out of 151 Local Authorities). Suffolk is making significant improvements with a higher percentage of pupils making the expected levels of progress in English and Maths; the county has climbed from 108th to 79th in Maths, and from 119th to 87th in English. Encouragingly, the performance of Suffolk’s disadvantaged pupils (those eligible for free school meals or children looked after) has shown a 4% increase on the previous year; this is despite the national figure remaining static. The results also see Suffolk ranked in 21st position for A-level results in 2015. In key measures of A-level, academic and vocational attainment at key stage 5, Suffolk is above the national figure for points per student.The average point score per student for Suffolk’s A-level cohort was 799.8 compared to 778.3 nationally, and for all academic entries was 801.9 compared to 785.4 nationally. For Suffolk’s vocational students the average points per student was 578.2 compared to 577 nationally.