A report from the school’s watchdog has revealed that most of the schools in England previously rated ‘outstanding’ have been downgraded by Ofsted.
Prior to 2020, ‘outstanding’ schools were only revisited if issues were raised, meaning that some had not been inspected in 15 years.
The Office for Standards in Education said that after re-inspecting, 80% of the ‘outstanding’ schools had their rating reduced. This consisted of 308 schools, primary and secondary that had been downgraded by Ofsted.
The majority were given ‘good’, but 17% were given ‘needs improvement’ and 4% were ‘inadequate.’
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However, the National Education Union (NEU) has criticised Ofsted, with NEU joint general secretary describing its findings as “frequently unreliable and invalid.”
He said: “Far from demonstrating the value of Ofsted, this report shows that the inspectorate makes no material positive difference to schools.”
The Department for Education also defended schools, pointing out that the majority of schools in England are still ranked ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’
Nonetheless, Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that inspection gives parents “confidence in the quality of their child’s school.”
She continued: “These are the schools that have gone longest without being inspected, so are probably slightly more likely not to remain outstanding.”
Ms. Spielman reiterated that the importance of people understanding that most schools are still ‘good’ but pointed out that it is “concerning that quite a significant number have been marked as needing improvement.”
Ofsted is a non-ministerial government department that is tasked with ensuring all schools in the UK are giving the best possible provision for our young people. It is also a word that often fills teachers with dread when they get ‘the call’.