"No marks for OFSTED boss" says Andy Kelly

February 23, 2016 9:49 PM

Rochdale Lib Dem Leader and youth worker Councillor Andy Kelly has labelled OFSTED's Regional Director Chris Russell as "short-sighted" and claimed that he needed to look at "... the bigger picture". He was speaking after Mr Russell wrote an open letter criticising the proportion of students in the Borough gaining five GCSEs from A* to C including English and Maths. Chris Russell said: "It is worrying that some of the Greater Manchester areas now figures among the worst performing local authorities in England for this measure." Rochdale, Salford, Manchester and Oldham were singled out for criticism.

This comes as OFSTED Chief Executive Sir Michael Wilshaw claimed that the Northern Powerhouse would "... splutter and die" if Greater Manchester schools didn't improve.

Councillor Andy Kelly, a youth worker for over 25 years, has defended Rochdale Schools claiming that OFSTED are "... too interested in headline figures." He said, "Everyone in Rochdale knows that GCSEs results need to improve. This year's results were particularly disappointing but that is not the whole picture. Over the last few years, there has been thousands of new apprentices in our Borough. Surely these apprentices will help Rochdale ambition to be at the heartof the Northern Powerhouse.

"I don't think it is helpful for OFSTED bosses to be talking down our schools in this manner. As a youth worker, I always look to encourage young people to be the best they possible can in life and reach their full potential. I've learnt to encourage improvement and I think OFSTED can learn from this. Of course, if OSTED worked with the Government to identify weaker areas and to match that with investment - their criticism would be more valid.

"English and maths are vital. It's not the be all and end all though. Take Rochdale Sixth Form College, for example. It's had record results and it's clear that graduates will be play a central role in any Northern Powerhouse. I'm afraid, there are no marks for OFSTED this time - an organisation that seems to be more interested in chasing headlines than improving educational attainment."

OFSTED's regional director's letter called into question the effectiveness of Rochdale Borough's Local Education Authority.