THE number of children in Northumberland being educated in highly-rated schools is above the national average.

Figures showed that 95.6 per cent of primary school children and 83.6 per cent of secondary school children attended schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. 

Cabinet members at Northumberland County Council praised the work of teachers and the local authority’s school improvement team over the results.

Data from Ofsted shows that, nationally, 90 per cent of schools are rated good or outstanding.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting (June 11) the county’s cabinet member for education said the council would continue to push for higher standards.

READ MORE: Teacher numbers in county stay stable, new figures show

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson said: “We’re above our own targets and above the national averages. It is down to the investment we have put in to the school improvement team.

“We’re not resting on our laurels. We’re being inspected by Ofsted each and every day.

“We continue to work hard to bring the rest of the schools to get to 100 per cent of schools. In 2017, we were below the 75 per cent mark and we’re now the highest-performing county in the region.

“That is due to the decisions we have made in county hall. It’s something we should be very proud of.”

The comments came during a discussion on the council’s quarterly performance report. The document looked at the local authority’s progress against its three key priorities – tackling inequalities, providing value for money and delivering growth and jobs.

In terms of delivering value for money, the report is broadly positive, but acknowledges more needs to be done to answer complaints in a timely manner and lower the number of staff days lost to sickness.

With regards to tackling inequalities, there were more areas for improvement identified.

These included improving Key Stage 4 attainment in schools, lowering the number of permanent admissions to care homes and increasing the percentage of adults with learning difficulties in employment.

And in the driving growth category, it was acknowledged that the council missed its target for the delivery of affordable homes, with just 122 built compared to a target of 374. However, the report added that there are 1,400 affordable dwellings agreed as part of section 106 agreements with developers.

The leader of the council, Councillor Glen Sanderson, said: “This is a very encouraging report especially in areas we should be excited about, the areas we feel we’re delivering well.”

“We need to measure how we’re performing in our three key areas and we need to challenge ourselves where there is room for improvement.

“Where we can, we should congratulate staff for delivering at and above what we have set targets of. Those targets have got to be quite strong targets.”