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Half of Ofsted's 'outstanding' schools set to be stripped of grade

Half of Ofsted’s 4,000 ‘outstanding’ schools are set to be stripped of grade in overhaul of inspection regime

  • Half of Ofsted’s 4,000 ‘outstanding’ schools expected to be stripped of grade
  • Amanda Spielman says schools with ‘outstanding’ grade subject to reinspection  
  • She says she ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if half of schools lost the sought-after grade 
  • Ofsted expects number of England’s highly-rated schools to fall to around 2,000

Half of Ofsted’s 4,000 ‘outstanding’ rated schools are set to be stripped of the grade following an overhaul of the inspection regime, the watchdog’s head says. 

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of education, expects the number of ‘outstanding’ schools to ‘fall from 4,133, to roughly 2,000’ following a new inspection regime, which is set to overhaul education standards. 

The Ofsted chief has said she wouldn’t be ‘surprised’ if half of schools that were inspected were no longer graded outstanding by the time the watchdog had finished their inspection.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of education (Pictured),  says half of Ofsted’s 4,000 ‘outstanding’ rated schools are set to be stripped of the grade following an overhaul of the inspection regime

Mrs Spielman told The Sunday Times: ‘We are expecting inspection to throw up a lot of schools that were graded outstanding and now are not. 

‘I would not be surprised if half of schools being no longer outstanding is where we come out. 

‘It is an adjustment that is welcome to schools and parents in many cases because it creates an honest conversation about the school as it now is, not the school as it was.’   

Schools rated ‘outstanding’ were previously let off re-inspections unless their results showed a serious dip or parents had complained.

The aim was to let high-flying schools concentrate on teaching without having to worry about inspections.   

But in 2019, the NAO’s audit of Ofsted found that 1,620 schools had not been inspected for six years or more, including 296 which have gone without for more than a decade and a small number for up to 13 years.  

Following this information, schools previously judged by the watchdog as outstanding are now no longer exempt from the routine inspection, with them already starting this year.

The chief inspector of education, expects the number of ‘outstanding’ schools to fall from 4,133, to roughly 2,000 following a new inspection regime, which is set to overhaul education standards after the pandemic

One of the many schools subject to reinspection is The King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, Essex, which was last inspected in 2006.

At the time Ofsted found the school is ‘outstandingly effective, confirming its own evaluation. It is also a very effective learning community’. 

This comes as last year, former education secretary Gavin Williamson said ‘all schools’ needed to be inspected regularly to help parents make informed decisions.

At the time, Mr Williamson said: ‘Making sure that all schools are regularly inspected means they will benefit from the expert insight Ofsted provides when making these decisions.

‘We know parents trust Ofsted – and with good reason. It serves a valuable purpose as the only organisation that gives a clear, accessible and impartial view on school and college performance.

‘But it’s also far more than that – it’s a driver of improvement.  

‘Although we continue to trust our best schools and colleges to get on with the job of educating, without Ofsted standards they would go unchecked and the exemption meant there is often not an up-to- date picture.’

Union leaders have ‘written to ministers’ calling for the overhauled inspections to be stopped, but the Ofsted chief has said parents need to make informed decisions about what school they want their child top attend.

Ofsted’s much-anticipated reports will be published this week and are set to give information on the first 120 ‘outstanding’ schools to be reinspected.

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