Poor schools do as well as rich ones

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Children taught in disadvantaged schools are as likely to gain an outstanding education as those in leafy suburbs, inspectors say.

In the 3,390 inspections carried out in the autumn and spring terms of this academic year, 11 per cent of schools serving deprived areas were rated "outstanding" by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) – a proportion that mirrors the national average.

However, yesterday's statistics showed that more schools were failing to deliver a good education. More than half of the secondaries inspected were graded either satisfactory (42 per cent) or inadequate (13 per cent); 47 per cent of all primary and secondary schools were satisfactory or inadequate.

Ofsted said its tougher inspection regime meant that more schools would be graded as weaker and outstanding schools would be assessed only once every five years. However, the Schools minister, Lord Hill, said the figures showed that education reforms were necessary.