Derby fights back after being targeted in Ofsted’s LA raids


The first of the 10 local authorities targeted as requiring a special inspection by Ofsted, has been praised for the improvements it has made.

Inspectors were sent in to Derby City local authority last month as part of a nationwide campaign by Ofsted to establish why there are such huge variations in education standards across the country, as outlined in the chief inspector’s annual report last year.

However, inspectors found that four out of 10 Derby schools randomly chosen had improved since their last inspection, and two had sustained their overall good judgement.

Three previously judged as satisfactory were still found to be requiring improvement.

Inspectors found that the local authority had made efforts to promote higher standards, and performance data was being used well to provide challenge by school improvement officers. 

It was also found to have established effective partnerships between schools to aid raising standards.

However, inspectors also noted that schools did not have a clear understanding of the city’s vision for school improvements, and relationships between schools and school improvement officers were inconsistent in their effectiveness. More focus was also needed on targeting support on specific groups of pupils who were underperforming. 

Announcing the inspection last year, Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector, said: “It cannot be right that in local authorities with the same demographics, the same sort of population, and the same levels of deprivation, parents have such widely varying opportunities of finding a good school.

“In some it is over 90 per cent, in others it is just over 40 per cent. This cannot continue. In these focused and concentrated inspection programmes, we will be seeking to determine whether councils are really fulfilling their statutory duties to promote high standards and fair access to educational opportunity.

“Ofsted will inspect without fear or favour, and with no preconceived idea of what we will find. If we find that the local authority is proactive in addressing the key issues, and standards are improving, that’s absolutely fine.”


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