"We must demand the best for all children, that they can achieve their full potential"

Liberal Democrat Councillor Niknam Hussain: ""We must demand the best for all children, that they can achieve to their full potential."
Liberal Democrat Councillor Niknam Hussain: ""We must demand the best for all children, that they can achieve to their full potential."

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Niknam Hussain has expressed concerns about the state of our non-selective schools in Aylesbury and how children from disadvantaged backgrounds are getting on.

In a council meeting on Friday September 6, Buckinghamshire County Council went through a progress report on Buckinghamshire Schools.

While the report generally painted a rosy picture for attainment from children who attend selective schools, the picture for children in Aylesbury for who attend non-selective schools, particularly those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive free school dinners or are from ethnic minorities is much less so.

The non selective schools in Aylesbury are Mandeville, The Grange, Bucks UTC and Aylesbury Vale Academy.

Out of Aylesbury's non-selective schools, only Aylesbury Vale Academy is now rated 'good' by Ofsted.

Currently Mandeville School, The Grange School and Bucks UTC require improvement.

The report highlights the 'inequality gap' in Buckinghamshire, which has increased 0.2% since 2017. The national figure is 0.1%

Niknam highlighted the discrepancies between non selective schools, where the report says children from ethnic minorities and children who speak English as an additional language are not doing well.

The report also highlights the growing gap between attainment of disadvantaged pupils and others in Buckinghamshire, which has increased by 3%.

Children who get free school meals are also performing worse than the national average compared to other pupils.

The report also adds to growing concerns about Special Educational Needs provision around Buckinghamshire, where Children who obtain SEN support are behind their peers in the national picture.

Added to this, children who use English as an additional language is still below the national average for similar children.

Councillor Niknam Hussain said:

"What this report shows is that although BCC may report a rosy report of schools, all of whom are working hard for their pupils, the picture is not so rosy for Bucks children especially whose who are disadvantaged children, ethnic minority or in general children who attend non selective secondary schools, which we must remember will be the majority of our children.

"At nearly all the stages, Bucks children achieve less well than nationally. It is best summarised with words from the report itself which states using a national measure, Progress 8.

"Progress 8 for non selective schools is significantly below the national average for all pupils."

"We must demand the best for all children, that they can achieve to their full potential."

When Children are between 7 and 11 years old, they are in the 'key stage 2' period of their education.

The report shows that during this period, Buckinghamshire's disadvantaged pupil results for reaching expected standard are 2% below national for writing and 4% below national for maths.

Furthermore, results for disadvantage pupils in Buckinghamshire are below the national average for similar pupils in each individual subject and disadvantaged pupils continue to make less progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 than their peers.

In response to this, Buckinghamshire County Council said:

"Broadly, education standards in Buckinghamshire are good, which includes outcomes for disadvantaged pupils – for the first time disadvantaged secondary school pupils in Buckinghamshire outperformed similar pupils nationally for the key Attainment 8 measure.

"Pupils with special educational needs also achieve better attainment in Buckinghamshire than similar pupils nationally.

"The County Council funds projects across 18 school 'locality liaison groups', where issues of weaker performance that are relevant for that particular locality are identified and measures are put into place to address them.

"Many of these local projects between schools are focused on closing the gap between disadvantaged children and others."

Attainment 8 measures a student's average grade across eight subjects – the same subjects that count towards Progress 8.

This measure is designed to encourage schools to offer a broad, well-balanced curriculum.

A student’s Attainment 8 score is calculated by adding up their points for their eight subjects and dividing by 10 to get their Attainment 8 score.

Students don't have to take eight subjects, but they score zero for any unfilled slots.