'Encouraging' early reports following emergency inspections of city schools
PRELIMINARY results from Government-ordered emergency inspections of city schools are "encouraging", according to council leader Paul Bayliss.
He told up to 300 business leaders at a meeting of Marketing Derby that the council had so far received reports from 10 of the 11 schools inspected.
Of those, four were better than during previous inspections and the other six "were no worse" than before.
The inspections, which have taken place during the past nine days, were brought forward by the Government after criticism of academic standards in the city by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
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A team of inspectors arrived in the city on January 17 after the Office for Standards in Education said it believed Derby children were "being denied the standard of education they deserve".
As well as scrutinising schools, the Ofsted inspectors asked head teachers what they thought about the city council's effectiveness and support.
Derby was the first place to be targeted following remarks made nationally by Mr Gove in October when he identified the city as place of low performance, particularly in the primary sector.
This was followed a few weeks later by Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw criticising Derby for its number of failing schools.
Mr Wilshaw told a recent conference in Sheffield: "It cannot be right that in local authorities with the same demographics, the same sort of population and the same levels of deprivation, parents have such widely varying opportunities of finding a good school.
"We will be seeking to determine whether councils are really fulfilling their statutory duties to promote high standards. Where we find evidence that the local authority is not demonstrating effective leadership, then we shall inspect it."
The inspection reports of each school will be published 15 working days after the Ofsted teams' visits.
Each school has already had verbal feedback on its inspection and reports based on these are being received by the city council.
Ofsted will scrutinise the results and decide whether or not Derby City Council itself should be inspected under a new process being developed between now and April.
Whether the results from the city schools will be good enough to hold off a council inspection remains to be seen but a letter about the inspections should be sent to the local authority by the end of February.
The inspected schools were picked as a cross-section from the city and were not identified as "failing" in their last inspections.
A city council spokeswoman said that no-one would be able to comment officially on any early results from the Ofsted inspections but would be prepared to do so once the reports were published.
A spokeswoman for Ofsted confirmed that the first of its reports were not due to be published until the beginning of February.