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Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, seemed appalled by statistics published this week showing the number of schools given failing status by inspectors. "These figures are tragic," he said, a view echoed by some newspapers.
But how big was the rise? Just two more schools are in special measures compared to this time last year, the total up from 243 to 245. Unfortunate, but not a national disaster. Where a significant change could be seen was in the number of schools given notices to improve, which dropped from 366 to 305. The statistics also look better when more up-to-date figures are compared. In August, the total numbers in special measures was 246, so the figure has actually fallen since then, admittedly by just one school. But if two can be a tragedy, then one must at least be promising.