Suffolk schools failing those who need it most

Labour Councillors are demanding that the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council do more to ensure children from the most vulnerable groups are not ignored after figures released by the Department for Education show that disadvantaged children are being left behind in Suffolk’s schools.

The ‘GCSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics 2014’ data set released today (29 January 2014) shows that Suffolk County Council is not doing enough to support the life chance of those who need it most. The data shows that the council is failing those students who are non-white, from poor families or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Suffolk is the 25th worst local authority for attainment for pupils of mixed race background, is the 17th worst for pupils who describe themselves as black and is the seventh worst for those from a disadvantaged background, with only 35.5% of disadvantaged children achieving 5 A*-C including English and maths. Those from a disadvantaged background include all those pupils entitled to free school meals or who are Looked After Children.

But the figures are worse still when those pupils who receive free school meals are taken in isolation. Suffolk is the sixth worst performing local authority in the country with less than 30% of pupils reaching the national standards of 5A*-C which Labour Councillors think is outrageous.

Labour Spokesperson for Education Cllr Sonia Barker said; “Whilst this administration will try to paint a rosy picture of schools in Suffolk the county wide data masks pockets of deprivation and failure. We know that disadvantaged and Free School Meals pupils need the most support – that is why we support the Pupil Premium – but this council must do more to help those who need it most.”

She added; “It is easy to send threatening letters from Endeavour House, it is far more difficult to get out into schools and the wider community to make long term change. It is now seven years since pupils in Suffolk performed better than the national average. The Conservatives have presided over a steady decline in education in Suffolk and their wilful neglect of those that need it most tells you all you need to know about their world view.”

Notes to editors
The GCSE and Equivalent Attainment data can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gcse-and-equivalent-attainment-by-pupil-characteristics-2014

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