SCHOOL standards are on the up in Blackburn with Darwen which has been singled out by Ofsted for the increasing number of schools being judged good or outstanding.

The authority ­— along with Liverpool and Knowsley ­— had the highest rate of improvement in primary schools scoring top marks from Government school inspectors in the region.

And the percentage of secondary schools rated at good or better also increased.

Ofsted's annual report for 2018/19 gives a snapshot of the performance of early, school, further education and skills, and social care providers in the England.

In the borough, the percentage of outstanding or good primary schools rose by four per cent since August 31 2019, with 84 per cent were judged to be at this level.

For secondary schools that figure went up by eight per cent, with 75 per cent judged to be good or better.

And the progress children make in Blackburn with Darwen was the best in the region, with the borough scoring the highest Progress 8 score, which captures the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school.

Cllr Maureen Bateson, executive member for education, said: “We can take great pride in the results of this report – it shows that overall our schools are doing very well and keeping up very high standards. This is all the more impressive given the levels of deprivation in the borough, the financial pressures we have to deal with and the challenges all of that brings.

“In terms of progress that children make in Blackburn with Darwen, we are outperforming much larger areas with bigger budgets. Most importantly we are making a real difference to the lives of children, young people and families.

"I want to personally thank all of the staff who have helped us to achieve these results, they do an unbelievable job and I’m so pleased to see them getting this recognition for the dedication they show day in and day out. We work very closely with our schools to support them and have a great relationship – these results are a real team effort and show the close partnership between us all is a fruitful and successful one.”

Overall, the primary school scores still place the borough in the bottom half of the table for the number of good or better primary schools. In Lancashire, 93 per cent of primary schools are marked at this grade.

The North West average is 90 per cent and the England average is 87 per cent.

The authority fared much better for its secondary schools, being placed joint-fourth in the region for the numbers being graded at good or outstanding. Lancashire’s figure was 74 per cent. The region average stood at 67 per cent and the England average was 76 per cent.

Ofsted states: “Liverpool, Knowsley and Blackburn with Darwen had the highest rate of improvement across the region, whereas in Halton the proportion of good or outstanding schools declined by four percentage points compared with 2018.”

Andrew Cook, Ofsted director for the North West said: “We introduced a new way of inspecting at the beginning of this school year. It has a new focus on the curriculum and behaviour ­— the kind of issues that we know really matter to parents. And our inspection reports are written with parents in mind ­— telling them what it is like to be a child in school.”

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn was highlighted as part of the launch of the report.

QEGS was one of the first schools in the country to be inspected under the new Ofsted framework in October 2019 receiving a ‘good’ rating, with ‘outstanding’ for Early Years Provision and Personal Development.

The case study references QEGS’ staff ambition for all pupils and the hard work and commitment shown within school. It also highlights that pupils ‘value the strong sense of community and a sense of belonging’ at QEGS, with the ‘friendly and approachable staff’ also commended.

Headteacher Claire Gammon said: “I am delighted that Ofsted chose us as one of four regional case studies, as part of the report launch. The report reflected the great strides we have made, particularly when referencing our exceptionally broad and ambitious curriculum and stunning range of opportunities to enhance pupils’ personal development.”