Top Tory says Sunderland schools must be pushed harder to achieve more

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COMPLACENCY over the quality of Wearside schools could lead to parents taking their children away from the area, it has been claimed.

Sunderland Conservatives leader, Councillor Robert Oliver, fears schools are not being pushed hard enough to improve standards, despite provisional results showing that the city is leading the way in this year’s GCSEs.

No Sunderland secondary schools are rated outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted, and Coun Oliver is concerned parents may take their children to neighbouring authorities.

“The GCSE results have been very good and that is welcome,” said Coun Oliver, himself a teacher, and a governor at Farringdon School.

“But the role of the council and school governors is to push schools to achieve better.

“We do have some schools that are rated good with outstanding features, which is encouraging, but none that are rated outstanding and that is below the national average.

“An outstanding rating does provide a magnet for people to come and live in the city.

“If parents looking to move to Sunderland see that in South Tyneside, Gateshead and Durham there are schools rated outstanding, they may go there instead.”

He added: “We should always be aiming to push the bar higher and the lack of an outstanding secondary school is a problem.”

However, at a full council meeitng, Coun Pat Smith, cabinet member for children’s services, said schools in the city had outperformed their neighbours.

“Our best intelligence at this stage shows that Sunderland has the best score in the key indicator of five A* to C GCSE grades (including English and Maths) for all the regional authorities in the North East and is better than our statistical neighbours nationally.”

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