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Praise from OFSTED

Primary schools are showing "welcome improvements in standards", the new chief inspector of schools for England has said in his first annual report, writes Lisa Hutchins.

Mike Tomlinson, who replaced Chris Woodhead after his departure from OFSTED last year, acknowledges the gap between the worst and the best primaries is narrowing.

His report says primary schools with disadvantaged intakes and previously low attainment as making the most progress. But Mr Tomlinson believes primary teachers must pay more attention to teaching writing skills, especially to boys. "There is a need toensure that the effective teaching and practice of writing are a priority for all schools," he said.

His report notes that in more than 40 per cent of primaries inspectors found no unsatisfactory teaching - compared to 12 per cent of secondaries. Last year 75 per cent of 11-year-olds reached the required standard in English and 72 per cent in mathematics.

The report stresses that teachers need more support but says reliance on temporary staff or those working outside their speciality is damaging pupils' education.

The full report is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk.

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