Wilshaw criticises ‘awful’ Birmingham schools

Outgoing Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has fiercely criticised Birmingham’s ‘awful’ schools and ‘failing’ children’s services.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Wilshaw said that, as the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham ‘should be matching London’, but instead children are being ‘let down year after year after year’.

He told Ferrari: "This is the second city in the land. It's one of the largest cities in Europe. It should be matching London for its educational success, particularly with a large Asian heritage school population. It's a key stage 2 - its primary school scores - are awful. They should be matching London.

"Birmingham's children services have failed for 10 years. The most vulnerable children in Birmingham have been let down year after year after year.

"And I'm quite clear about this, unless the government acts to do something about corporate governance in Birmingham, this sorry state of affairs will continue.

"I feel very strongly about this. This is the second city in the land and the children and families in Birmingham deserve a significantly better."

Wilshaw also spoke with a mother who called for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to be made compulsory.

Wilshaw responded by saying the ‘big problem’ was that it was often taught badly in schools by non-specialist teachers.

He said: “Often it’s an adjunct, it’s something that’s bolted on to the school’s curriculum. It’s taught by people who are not specialists in teaching this important area of the school's curriculum and it doesn’t work.

“If it’s going to be made compulsory then it’s got to be a discrete subject taught by specialist staff. We have not got enough of those sort of teachers, and it’s always difficult to get really good people to teach sex education, British values and parenting and so forth.

“It’s a tough subject to teach well, particularly with older pupils who need specialist staff to do that.”

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