School is praised for leading by inspectors
Reporter: Karen Doherty
Date online: 02 December 2016
OLDHAM Academy North is praised in the annual report by the chief inspector of schools which paints a mixed picture for the borough's children.
The Royton secondary is singled out as an example of a school where middle leaders - roles such as subject leaders and heads of departments or years - have played a key role in raising standards.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said strong middle leadership was a common feature of improving schools in his report.
But he also warned that schools are continuing to battle a teacher recruitment crisis, with an "auction" for talented staff in the worst-affected areas.
And he said the North-South educational divide in secondary schools remains, with those in the North and Midlands lagging behind.
In the North-West, 75 per cent of pupils attend a good or outstanding high school compared to 81 per cent nationally.
The region is also the second poorest for its Progress 8 average, the government's new performance measure which looks at how much progress pupils make in eight subjects, with a greater emphasis given to maths and English.
Oldham is one of six local authority areas in the North-West which have the worst Progress 8 results nationally.
But Radclyffe School and Corpus Christie RC Primary, both Chadderton, and Oldham Council's adult learning are providers which have been inspected in the last year and judged to be outstanding.
Commenting on the North-West's education performance, Ofsted regional director Andrew Cook said: "Young children under five years old are doing well and those at primary school are doing even better. Ninety per cent of early years providers are now judged good or better and 93 per cent of children are going to a good or outstanding primary school.
"This is a remarkable achievement and down to the hard work of teachers, leaders and staff."
But he said the headline figures masked variability within the region and for different groups of children, and added: "In secondary education, the gap between the North and South remains."
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: "We agree with Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw when he says that the first priority of the Department for Education is to make sure we have enough teachers. Just as school leaders up and down the country are held accountable for standards of teaching in their schools, the government should be accountable for getting the basics right, including recruitment."
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