Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, proudly announced that school standards have appeared to improve again this year.
He announced, “good and outstanding schools make up 89% of all schools inspected in England with schools judged at this rating continuing to increase in most regions of the country”.
Gibb added, “we want every child to have access to a good school place – one that provides them with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the future”.
Yet question marks still remain over how accurate such a statement is when it comes to the current National Curriculum. Critics argue that pupils are merely trained to perform well in tests rather than actually learning skills that will be beneficial to their future development in adulthood.
Gibb’s figures were released on the same day the public were made aware that teacher training targets had been missed for a fifth consecutive year. Targets were hit in only two of 15 subjects whilst the number of teachers recruited was 20% down on the desired figure.
However, Gibb argued that “1,100 more graduates have trained to teach and the number of them holding a first-class degree are now at record levels, meaning we’re attracting more of the best and brightest into our classrooms.”
Yet Association of School and College Leaders’ head Geoff Barton argues, “there are severe teacher shortages in many subjects and in many areas of the country. This is having a real and detrimental impact on the quality of education that we are able to provide to our young people.”
Teacher recruitment certainly appears to be a growing issue on the ground with numerous Headteachers starting to sacrifice high-quality provision purely to add sufficient numbers to their payroll. Nick Gibb continues to fall back on his statistics but how often is he getting into the trenches and building a real picture of the scenario?