19. What recent representations he has received on standards of attainment in secondary schools in (a) Great Yarmouth constituency and (b) England. (23538)
No representations have been received on standards of attainment in secondary schools in Great Yarmouth. We have, of course, received many representations about standards in schools nationally. In 2009, 46.8% of pupils in maintained schools in Great Yarmouth achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths, compared with 50.9% in England as a whole.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Can he give some reassurance to the head teachers and teachers in Great Yarmouth? Those I have spoken to have expressed huge frustration over the past decade or so at having to manage tick-box, centrally controlled systems, rather than being able to focus on their pupils. The new freedoms and choices that this Government are giving will allow teachers to go back to focusing on pupils’ needs.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Indeed, evidence from the OECD shows that the most successful education jurisdictions in the world are those with high levels of autonomy combined with clear external testing and accountability. Reducing the bureaucratic burden on teachers and heads is part and parcel of delivering that autonomy, as is the expansion of the academies programme. We are determined to push ahead with both.