Schools leaders have called for a crackdown on what they term “rogue school inspectors”. It comes as Ofsted published its annual report, which showed a rising number of “good” and “outstanding” schools.
Currently, 70 per cent of schools are rated as good or better, compared with 66 per cent three years ago. There are also nearly 1,000 more outstanding schools than there were three years ago, and nearly 1,000 fewer schools ranked as “inadequate” or “satisfactory”.
For secondary schools, 26 per cent are ranked outstanding compared with 24 per cent a year ago; 40 per cent are good compared with 42 per cent last year. Around 30 per cent remain satisfactory and three per cent inadequate.
The National Association of Head Teachers welcomed the rising number of good and outstanding schools but this week highlighted “significant inconsistencies” between inspection teams, and is urging Ofsted to focus on quality assurance.
General secretary Russell Hobby said: “We ask that Ofsted continues to concentrate on eliminating the inconsistencies between inspection teams. Some are excellent but there are still a number of rogue elements which need to be identified and addressed. Too often, the experience of inspection is subjective and demoralising. We also look for a stronger connection to school improvement.”
Speaking about the report more widely, Mr Hobby added: “Even in the face of more demanding expectations, the proportion of good and outstanding schools is increasing steadily over the long term. There are surely few walks of life where excellence so dramatically outnumbers failure.”
The report was published on Tuesday (November 27) and comes after nearly 25,000 inspections were carried out during 2011/12 including visits to almost 1,000 secondary schools.
Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said the upward trend could be put down to “better leadership and a slow improvement in the quality of teaching”.
However, he emphasised that inequality of access to the best schools was still a problem. The report points out that a child in Derby or Doncaster has only half the chance of attending a good or better secondary school compared to a child living in Wigan or Darlington.
Sir Michael added: “The inequities for local children are stark. This is completely unacceptable. That’s why I intend, from January, to use Ofsted’s new regional structure to inquire further into areas that are performing badly. We need to find out what is happening, and inspect where necessary. We will also work with local areas to support them and help them link up with best practice.”
Ofsted has also launched a new website called Data View which allows the comparison of recent inspection findings at a national, regional, local authority and constituency level. The website is at www.dataview.ofsted.gov.uk
You can download the full report at www.ofsted.gov.uk