ONE YEAR on from the publication of the Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC) report big improvements are already visible – but there is still much work to be done.
In January 2016 Estelle Morris launched the OESC report which sets out a vision for education in Oldham.
To achieve this, the OESC report focuses on highly aspirational targets and aims for education across Oldham.
The percentage of pupils attending a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ secondary school is now 67 per cent whereas this time last year it was 46 percent.
Additionally, 95 per cent of Oldham primary schools continue to be judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.
Oldham bucked the national trend last year after seeing improvements in its GCSE and A-Level results.
In 2016 51 per cent of pupils in Oldham achieved grades A*-C at GCSE – the same level as last year – the measure previously used to look at school performance.
Looking at the measures now used, in 2016 56.7 per cent of pupils in Oldham achieved grades A*-C in both English and Mathematics – a 4.3 per cent increase from the previous year.
At A-Level 20 per cent of students achieved grades A*- A – this increased since 2015 by two per cent.
Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years, said: “These improvements are a good indication of the great work we’ve been doing to transform education in Oldham. But we are still not where we need to be.
“Our Key Stage 2 results were not so good. The results mirrored the national drop and we’re examining these in full to learn the lessons.
“There was a new national curriculum and marking scheme which may have had an impact but we’re not looking for excuses, we must – and will – improve.
“A year ago we lifted the lid on our education system with the publication of the OESC report. This gave us and the public a better understanding of the state of our education system.
“It was clear we had to make big improvements and 12 months on there is evidence we are working towards our target – an education system which works for everyone.
“We have made a good start but we still have a long way to go. All children in Oldham must get the best possible start in life they can and it is up to us to deliver that in the form of an excellent education system.”
The OESC report also recommended the creation of a ‘self-improving education system’ where schools, colleges and all interested parties work together in a new collaborative partnership.
The Oldham Education Partnership (OEP) is working to improve education leadership and teaching in the borough’s schools through the sharing of best practice.
Adrian Calvert, Oldham Education Partnership Leader, said: “I think the key message running through the OESC report is that to deliver an education system which works for everyone we must work together and that’s precisely what we’re now doing.
“While education leaders’ first responsibility is to their own school, they also have a duty to work with other education providers in the borough so best practise can be shared and utilised.
“Great education starts with high quality teaching and this is a key priority for us. Through the Oldham Offer we’ll help existing teachers in Oldham, and newly qualified teachers looking for their first opportunity, develop their skills, knowledge and expertise.
“I’m sure with the OEP now in place our education system will continue to improve and we’re well on our way to meeting the OESC’s aims.
“I am looking forward to further supporting the work of the OESC through the new Opportunity Area developments, aligning the work of these two areas can only bring further benefits for Oldham’s children and young people.”
Find out more about the OESC on their website at www.oesc.org.uk