Ofsted outstanding? The exemption debate heats up

The chief inspector of schools in England wants to see an end to the exemption from inspection enjoyed by those rated as ‘outstanding’. Chris Parr looks at the debate thus far...

It was in 2011 that Michael Gove, then the education secretary, introduced rules that granted schools in England rated as “outstanding” an exception from further Ofsted inspections.

The rationale was that Her Majesty’s inspectors would be better off spending their time at schools deemed to be “failing”. Since then, however, the policy has attracted a steady stream of critics, perhaps most notably in the form of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts which, in September last year, described the exemption as “unacceptable” (CPA, 2018).

“Some pupils go through the whole of primary and/or secondary school without any independent assessment of their school’s effectiveness,” the committee found, pointing out that, as of August 2017, some 1,620 schools had not been inspected for six years or more, including 296 schools that had not been inspected for at least a decade.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here