Education creates greater opportunity for economic and social choice. The educational opportunities of children and young people are affected by a range of factors including poor levels of self-esteem and physical activity. Future life chances and health are directly linked to educational attainment.

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Last updated: 2016-01-27 11:38:37
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1. What are the key issues?

  • In 2011, 8 primary schools and 1 secondary school were below the current floor standards for attainment.
  • In 2011/12, 9 schools are subject to intervention from the local authority as schools causing concern.
  • There are gaps in attainment for pupils from certain groups – particularly children with special needs; those eligible for free school meals; and boys.
  • The teaching and quality of reading and writing is sub-optimal.
  • There are high rates of teenage pregnancy.
  • Speech and language service provision is insufficient.
  • There is inadequate provision for children of traveller families.
  • There are high levels of persistent absence.  Some secondary schools need to reduce the number of fixed-term exclusions and improve overall attendance.
  • High numbers of young people are not in education employment or training (NEET).
  • Meeting the needs of the new arrivals to the UK (for example, migrants and refugees) with English as an Additional Language (EAL).
  • There is a duty to provide full-time education for children/young people with medical/health needs.
  • There is a need to promote sexual health for young people with learning difficulties/disabilities.


Last updated: 25/03/13

2. What commissioning priorities are recommended?

Deliver a co-ordinated programme of school improvement
focused on schools in danger of falling below current floor standards. This should involve the work of local authority school improvement advisers (SIAs); school-to-school support; and involvement of appropriate external agencies.

Implement a highly focussed intervention plan where a school is a cause for concern
, with measurable targets set against clearly defined success criteria.

Support schools in analysing outcomes for vulnerable groups
and issue an Inclusion Profile to every school.  This will be a valuable tool for senior leaders to inform their strategies and interventions to narrow these gaps.  Provide training to support the launch of the Inclusion Profile for governors, senior staff and Special Education Needs Coordinators. Implement a revised Inclusion Quality Mark.

Improve reading attainment in primary schools
at both Level 4 and Level 5 to ensure pupils’ preparedness for secondary education and beyond by implementing universal training in the teaching and improvement of reading.

Deliver a co-ordinated approach to teenage pregnancy
through education to ensure positive outcomes.

Provide an appropriate level of speech and language therapy in schools
to enable the pupils to engage fully with the curriculum and maximise their learning potential.

Commission education and welfare support for traveller families
through the service of a dedicated officer.

Deliver targeted support for schools to address those with low attendance and high rates of exclusion

Increase the number of young people in Stockton-on-Tees progressing to and remaining in education, training or employment
from age 16 onwards. Ensure post-16 providers receive the ‘soft’ information about individual pupils which will help them to put in place effective pastoral support mechanisms. Improve pre-16 providers’ understanding of the qualifications and skills needed for post-16 progression.

Commission education and welfare support for new arrivals to the UK
with English as an additional language, through the service of a dedicated officer.

Provide a programme for promoting sexual health to young people with learning difficulties/disabilities
. Parent classes/workshops and individual work are needed, together with forensic/psychiatry services and more local provision for young people with sexually harmful behaviour.


Last updated: 25/03/13

3. Who is at risk and why?

Adults with few or no qualifications are at a disadvantage when it comes to returning to and remaining in the labour market.
Adults in the criminal justice system are more likely to have a poor school history and poor educational attainment.

Boys typically achieve less than girls at all stages of their learning.

Socioeconomic status
Children from poorer backgrounds are much less likely to experience a good home learning environment, which is very important for children’s early educational development.

The achievement gap for poorer children widens particularly quickly during primary school, being affected by low parental aspirations; how far parents and children believe their own actions can affect their lives; and, behavioural problems.

The pattern of under-achievement is harder to reverse by the teenage years, but disadvantage and poor school results continue to be linked, including through low expectations for higher education; a lack of material resources; engagement in anti-social behaviour; and young people’s belief in their own ability at school.
Research shows that cognitive skills are passed from parents to children.

Children from black or minority ethnic groups may require additional support to improve their English language skills to enable them to engage with areas of the curriculum adequately.

Special educational needs
A physical or learning disability might require additional support, either on a group or individual basis, to ensure attendance at school and/or individual learning progress.

Looked after children
Chaotic and traumatic life experiences can mean that children in the care of the local authority do not achieve key learning outcomes within the same timescale as their peers.

Nearly half (49%) of male, sentenced prisoners were excluded from school compared with 2% in the general population.  More than half of male prisoners (52%) and 71% of female prisoners have no qualifications, with 65% having numeracy ability less than an average 11-year-old and 48% with a reading ability less than an 11-year-old.  One in ten prisoners has a learning disability.  At any one time, only one-third of prisoners have access to education. (Natale, 2010).  See the offenders topic for further details.


Last updated: 25/03/13

4. What is the level of need in the population?

Key issues

  • Attainment at age 11 is similar to England, but by age 16 tends to be below England.
  • Secondary school attendance is lower than England.

Primary schools
Primary schools in Stockton-on-Tees have levels of attainment above or similar to England.  In 2012, 80% of children achieved level four or above at key stage 2, compared with 79% in England.

Children attaining level 4 or above, Tees, 2008 to 2012

In 2011, 8 primary schools were below the 60% threshold for children achieving level 4 or above in both English and maths. This is the smallest number of schools below 60% since 2005. However, in response to increased national expectations, this threshold  rose to 65% in 2012 and remains a key priority.

Of the 59 primary schools in Stockton-on-Tees, in 2011, there were 29 where not enough children made 2 levels of progress between key stage1 and key stage 2 for English, and 24 schools where not enough progress was made in maths.

Attendance at primary schools in Stockton-on-Tees is similar to England, at about 95%.  Just over 4% of children were persistently absent from primary school, missing more than 15% of their education, compared with just under 4% nationally.

Secondary schools
Secondary schools in Stockton-on-Tees have levels of attainment below or similar to England.  In 2012, 54.3% of children achieved 5 or more GCSEs grade A*-C including English and maths, compared with 59.4% in England.  The gap between Stockton-on-Tees and England narrowed from 2005 to 2011, but in 2012, the gap was similar to that seen in 2005.
Children gaining 5 or more GCSEs including English and maths, Tees, 2005 to 2012

Using the measure of 5 or more GCSEs, grades A*-C including English and maths, in 2011 Stockton achieved 57%, exceeding the previous year’s performance by 4% and the highest ever attainment for this indicator.  In 2012, a change in grade boundaries in English GCSEs may have contributed to the decline observed.  In 2011, only one academy failed to meet the floor standard for this measure of 35%.

Of 12 secondary schools in Stockton-on-Tees, in 2011, there were 8 where not enough children made 3 levels of progress between key stage 2 and key stage 4 for English, and 7 schools where not enough progress was made in maths.

Overall absence (both authorised and unauthorised) from secondary schools in Stockton-on-Tees is above the England rate.  A higher proportion of children than seen nationally are persistently absent, with more than eight percent of secondary school pupils in Stockton-on-Tees missing over 15% of their education.  Stockton-on-Tees has a low rate of permanent exclusions compared to national levels and rates of fixed-term exclusion are broadly in line with national averages.
Absence from secondary school, Tees, 2012

Stockton-on-Tees has fewer pupils than elsewhere in Teesside with special educational needs, and a slightly lower rate than England.  Stockton-on-Tees has about one-third of the rate seen in England where pupils don’t have English as a first language, but slightly higher rates of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Special educational needs, English as an additional language and free school meals, Tees, 2012

There are 74 schools in Stockton-on-Tees including 3 Special Schools. There is one Pupil Referral Unit. Two secondary schools are Academies.

  • In 2011/12, eight schools are subject to intervention as Schools Causing Concern;
  • One Academy is in the Ofsted category of requiring special measures.

Vulnerable groups

The importance of narrowing the gap in performance between vulnerable groups and all other pupils is underlined by a key national initiative which provides schools with finance, in the form of a Pupil Premium, to address these issues.

Free school meals
In primary schools, there is a significant gap in achievement between all pupils and those on free school meals (FSM).  This gap has increased from 22% in 2010 to 27% in 2011 for combined English and maths at level 4 and above.

In secondary schools, the gap in performance for pupils with FSMs has narrowed from 39% in 2010 to 35% in 2011, but remains wider than the gap found in primary schools.

Black and minority ethnic groups
In primary schools in Stockton-on-Tees, achievement of black and minority ethnic (BME) pupils at level 4 or more in English and maths is similar to that of all pupils. The achievement of BME pupils at higher levels is slightly below that of all pupils.

For the period 2009-11, in secondary schools, the gap in  attainment between BME pupils and all pupils has narrowed for pupils gaining 5+A*-C grades including English and maths.

Special educational needs
In primary schools, the gap in achievement for those pupils with special educational needs (SEN) compared with those without is 56% in 2011 for those achieving level 4 or above in English and maths.  They achieve around half of the attainment of other pupils on most of the key age-related norm performance measures.  An important performance measure for this group of pupils is levels of progress against prior attainment and, whilst there is a gap compared with those without SEN, it is not as wide as the gap in attainment.

In secondary schools, the attainment gap for pupils with SEN has steadily narrowed particularly for pupils attaining A*-G grades.   However, the gap remains significant at the higher attainment level of A*-C.

The teaching and quality of reading and writing
The most reliable indicator of future performance is a child’s level of literacy at the end of their primary education.  Improving levels of reading is important for improving children’s life chances.  There is a gap in attainment between Stockton and national outcomes at key stage 1, particularly for reading at the higher level.

Teenage pregnancy
Teenagers who become pregnant may not receive the full benefit of education.  The sexual health JSNA topic has details of teenage pregnancies.

Speech and language provision
No data available.

Traveller families
The highest levels of school attendance for traveller families is at primary school. In secondary schools, the numbers on roll are not sufficient to make a valid statistical analysis of achievement in Stockton-on-Tees.

The greatest proportion of those opting for elective home education (EHE) is from traveller families. Between September 2010 and July 2011, 44% of children who were educated at home, were traveller children but only 0.2% of total school population are from Gypsy, Roma and traveller families.

Young people not in education, employment and training (NEET)
Participation in education and training aged over 16 is broadly in line with national figures.

Not in education, employment or training, age 16-18, Stockton, 2011

School standards
In primary schools, Stockton-on-Tees has a similar distribution of Ofsted judgements to that seen nationally.  For secondary schools there is a higher proportion of schools  that are satisfactory / requiring improvement and inadequate.

Ofsted judgement, primary schools, Tees Valley, 2012

Ofsted judgement, secondary schools, Tees Valley


Last updated: 11/01/16

5. What services are currently provided?

Education providers
In Stockton-on-Tees, there are:

  • 59 Primary schools
  • 12 Secondary schools, of which 2 are Academies
  • 3 Special schools
  • 2 Pupil referral units
  • 1 Further Education College
  • 1 Sixth Form College
  • 1 University campus
  • 3 Independent schools
  • 1 Prison
  • 64 Private, voluntary and independent sector nurseries
  • 11 Childrens Centres

School below floor standards and schools causing concern
Resources are available to help schools improve including:

  • Each school has a School Improvement  Adviser (SIA) to provide support, challenge and guidance throughout the academic year;
  • Each school designated as ‘Cause for Concern’ has a Support Adviser in addition to the SIA;
  • Business Support and Information (BUSI) service provides performance data and basic analysis of results;
  • Children with disabilities and special educational needs are managed by the special educational needs (SEN) team in partnership with other agencies;
  • Schools below floor standards are closely monitored by The Education Improvement Service (EIS) with targeted support and periodic review.

Gaps in attainment within vulnerable groups
The Education Improvement Service’s Inclusion Team monitors the achievement of vulnerable groups and provides schools with a detailed summary with analysis of trends in achievement for vulnerable groups.

The teaching and quality of reading and writing
School Improvement Advisers monitor attainment in reading and writing and challenge schools where outcomes and attainment are below floor standards and national averages.  EIS advisers and consultants deliver training and support to schools requiring improvements in reading and writing.

Teenage pregnancy
The Teenage Pregnancy Support Service is under review.  There is a Risk Taking Behaviour Toolkit and training is available for school staff prior to its use in personal, social and health education (PSHE).  The Redhill Education Team provides support.

Speech and language provision
Therapy support is provided by the regional health service providers.  Two primary schools have provision for pupils in key stages 1 and 2 with speech, language and communication difficulties.

Traveller families
Traveller education in Stockton-on-Tees schools is organised and deployed by Middlesbrough Borough Council. The provision includes:

  • Raising awareness of Gypsy, Roma and traveller needs in schools and equipping them to meet pupil needs;
  • Provision of early intervention support including one-to-one, ‘Better Reading Partnerships’ and ‘Reading Recovery’;
  • Conducting home visits with Stockton’s Attendance and Inclusion Officers.

School attendance and inclusion
Close monitoring of overall attendance, persistent absence and inclusion levels in all schools by the EIS Inclusion Service.

Reduction in NEETs
There is monitoring by Connexions and a strategic lead through the 14-19 Partnership Board and associated links to regional agencies and Further Education Colleges.

English as an additional language (EAL)
Using a multi-agency approach, the EIS Inclusion Team liaises with agencies including: Jomast (the housing provider for asylum seeking families), the New Arrival Practice, social services, First Contact Team, school admission and schools to provide a safe and welcoming environment.  The Inclusion Team supports schools with the induction of new arrivals through whole school and targeted provision.

Looked after children
The Virtual School/Looked After Children Education Team provide support for looked after children.

Risk-taking behaviour
Bridgeway provides a service for those with sexually harmful behaviour.  It does not have specialist learning disability provision.

Last updated: 25/03/13

6. What is the projected level of need?

School below floor standards and schools causing concern

  • Floor standards are set to rise, bringing increased risk of schools falling below these performance thresholds;
  • The new Ofsted Framework for Inspection requires schools to reach higher standards of provision and achievement and will not be allowed to remain in a satisfactory category beyond 2 inspections. (The Ofsted categorisation ‘satisfactory’ was re-designated as ‘requiring improvement’ in September 2012);
  • The present context for education continues to be one of reform and change.  In 2010-2011, two schools became Academies; there were also two applications for Free Schools in the Borough.

Traveller families
Due to funding cuts, the Middlesbrough-based Traveller Education Service is offering Stockton-on-Tees a reduced service in 2012/13. Given that the contract offers a much reduced service, the period of the renewed contract will be to establish an exit strategy from the service and a development of internal resource to ensure schools are adequately supported. New plans are required to address the following needs:

  • Better procedures for information gathering and sharing in relation to tracking pupil progress, target setting and monitoring of Traveller children;
  • Capacity building, to support schools to develop skills, knowledge and expertise in relation to GRT achievement, need to be fully embedded.
  • Better attendance is required to improve attainment and progression.
  • Better provision for Traveller families who choose to educate at home. Between September 2010 and July 2011, 44% of the total number of children who were educated at home, were traveller children. Whilst only 0.22% of total school population are GRT pupils.

English as an additional language
Data for 2009/10 and 2010/11 indicate an increase in the numbers of arrivals of children with English as an additional language. It is likely that numbers will continue to increase.

Last updated: 25/03/13

7. What needs might be unmet?

School attainment

  • In Stockton-on-Tees, 45% of student left school in 2012 without 5 good GCSEs including English and maths.
  • Too many children are not making expected progress in English and maths.


Traveller families
There is unmet need for:

  • consistent educational provision for children of traveller families beyond primary school.
  • educational provision for those families electing for home education.
  • the more complex needs of the Gypsy, Roma and traveller (GRT) communities. GRT communities are identified as ‘vulnerable’ in terms of housing/ site provision; health; and education. A multi-agency group would need to reflect these needs, to ensure that barriers to learning are considered in their entirety.

English as an additional language
There is unmet need for:

  • the language needs of some pupils because the range of linguistic backgrounds is diverse and it is not always possible for schools to provide first language support to overcome the language barriers of the pupils and families who have limited English.
  • Support for the twenty languages spoken by referred pupils in 2011/12.

Risk-taking behaviour

  • There is limited provision for those with sexually harmful behaviour.


Last updated: 22/08/13

8. What evidence is there for effective intervention?

The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit (Higgins el at, 2013) is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.  The Toolkit covers 30 topics, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost.  It highlights feedback; meta-cognition and self-regulation; peer tutoring; and early years intervention as the top four evidence-based interventions.

The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services (C4EO) provides a range of products and support services to improve outcomes.  Excellence in local practice, combined with national research and data about 'what works' is being gathered in one place.

Ofsted provides Our expert knowledge, a resource that brings together expert knowledge.  It includes survey reports and examples of good practice by both key stage and subject.


Last updated: 20/06/13

9. What do people say?

Content under development

Last updated: 11/10/11

10. What additional needs assessment is required?

  • There needs to be a comprehensive assessment of the needs for therapy services including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
  • There needs to be better understanding of the need for the Educational Psychology Service.


Last updated: 25/03/13

Key contact


Topic lead

Name: Diane McConnell

Job title: Chief Adviser


Phone number: 01642 526404

Topic author

Name: Paul Welford

Job Title:



Local strategies and plans

Stockton Children and Young People’s Plan 20012/13.


National strategies and plans

Department for Education (2010). The Importance of Teaching - The Schools White Paper 2010.

Department for Education (2012).  Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2012.

Department for Education (2012).  Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Department for Education (2012).  Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability - Progress and next steps.


Other references

Allen, G (2011). Early Intervention: The Next Steps - An Independent Report to Her Majesty’s Government.

Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services (C4EO).

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG, 2011). English indices of deprivation 2010.

Department for Education (2012d). School performance tables for Stockton.

End Child Poverty (2012). Child Poverty Map of the UK, 2012.

Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Kokotsaki, D., et al. (2013). The Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit.

Natale, L (2010). CIVITAS Factsheet – Education in prisons.