July 2016 – Ofsted could scrap ‘outstanding’ rating for schools

Amanda Spielman, who is expected to take over Ofsted in January, told MPs that she intended to have “discussions” over getting rid of the grade.

She told the Education Select Committe: “I’m quite uncomfortable about some of the effects you see it having in the system, I have to say.”

Asked if she would scrap the judgement, she said: “It’s something I would like to see fully discussed.”

Critics of the ‘outstanding’ grades have expressed concerns it puts those in privileged areas at an advantage because they are the ones which are likely to reach the standard easier than those is struggling areas.

They also argue ‘outstanding’ gives the wrong impression of the performance of the school and adds greater pressure to schools.

Separately, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the current chief of Ofsted who finishes his term at the end of the year, has raised concerns about the poor performance of secondary schools.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the current chief of Ofsted 
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the current chief of Ofsted
Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

His warning emerged after official figures showed that of 416 secondary schools inspected between 1 September 2015 and 31 March 2016, just 57 per cent were judged to be good or outstanding.

The figures also showed that of the 24 local authority areas where less than 60 per cent of secondary schools were judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, 17 are in the north and midlands.

Sir Michael said: “In my annual report at the end of last year, I highlighted serious concerns about the performance of secondary schools in the north and midlands, especially those serving the poorest and most isolated communities.

Far too many children are being let down by the system when they reach the age of 11, simply because of where they live

“Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t got any better in the months since. More than 40 per cent of secondary schools inspected by Ofsted over the last two terms were not good enough.”

“As things stand, far too many children are being let down by the system when they reach the age of 11, simply because of where they live. We’re also not doing enough to support the most able children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This puts in jeopardy the government’s ambition for the majority of pupils to study the EBacc subjects at GCSE.

“The nation should be worried. Our future prosperity depends on this generation of young people receiving a good education. So it is vital that we raise standards for all children and find lasting solutions to close the regional divide in secondary schools.”

Source: Ofsted could scrap ‘outstanding’ rating for schools, incoming chief inspector has suggested

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