Ofsted Chief Inspector visits Liverpool schools

Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has been in Liverpool to see the work that is going on to raise educational standards in the city.

During his visit he spent time at Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton and Abbots Lea Special School in Woolton, meeting staff and pupils.

Notre Dame Catholic College was the first school to be rebuilt under the Mayor’s £169 million Liverpool Schools Investment Programme funded partly through Liverpool’s City Deal with the Government, and opened in 2013.

Abbots Lea Special School caters for more than 200 pupils with Autism and other related difficulties aged between five and 19, and was ranked outstanding by Ofsted during its most recent inspection in January 2016.

Sir Michael Wilshaw has been in Liverpool at the invitation of Mayor Joe Anderson and Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, Councillor Nick Small.

The invitation followed comments the Chief Inspector made earlier this year about the importance of education to the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

During his time in the city, they talked to him about the work done in recent years including the establishment of the Liverpool Learning Partnership made up of education leaders who support and challenge each other, the Liverpool Challenge chaired by former education minister Stephen Twigg MP, and initiatives to raise standards in literacy and maths.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “I am grateful to the Mayor and Assistant Mayor for inviting me to Liverpool to see first-hand what is being done to improve the city’s schools.

“During my visit I witnessed an enthusiasm for learning from staff and pupils alike, and I am pleased to see leaders from across the city working together to raise standards in education.

“Making sure our youngsters regularly attend school is vital to improving their life chances, so it is reassuring to see that initiatives like tackling poor attendance have been made a top priority.

“Liverpool is an iconic city; known throughout the world for its contributions to industry and culture. It is only right that we strive to ensure that future generations receive a standard of education that is fitting of the city’s name.”

Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw and Mayor Joe Anderson at Notre Dame Catholic College
Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw and Mayor Joe Anderson at Notre Dame Catholic College

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “I was delighted to welcome Sir Michael Wilshaw to Liverpool to show him the work that we are doing in partnership with our schools to make sure our young people leave school with the skills necessary to go on to lead successful lives.

“There is no doubt that education standards in Liverpool are much improved compared to a decade or more ago, and the 17 much-needed new and refurbished schools being delivered as part of my Mayoral pledges will make a significant difference to teaching and learning.

“But we are absolutely not complacent and need to do more, so I was pleased to show the Chief Inspector what is happening on the ground and talk to him about the Liverpool Challenge and other projects we have launched to drive up standards.”

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, Councillor Nick Small, added: “Liverpool schools have lots to be proud of, but we agree with Sir Michael Wilshaw that local political leaders must stand up and be counted and support and challenge our education system when necessary.

“The visit has been a great opportunity to show him what we are doing in Liverpool to make sure pupils get the best possible start in life, and reiterate that we will not shy away from having an honest debate with our education partners, locally and nationally, about the issues we face.”