Ofsted: 11% of schools deemed ‘inadequate’ in England last Month
Ofsted, responsible for reviewing a range of educational institutions across the UK, have recently revealed changes to their inspection strategy moving forward to 2022. These include inspecting top schools more often, making reports more accessible to parents and listening to the views of employers, learners and parents more too.
With an increase in parent involvement, Ofsted reports have become more relevant than ever for deciding on the best school for your child.
Schooling performance also has the ability to improve the outlook of an area, as proximity to an ‘outstanding’ school can increase your house price by £52,000.
Theknowledgeacademy.com has considered official Ofsted reports, released at the end of September, in order to determine which regions in England have the most highly rated schools, and where parents are happiest with the schools their children go to.
Ofsted data mapped: who gets an A?
Ofsted data of August 2017 has revealed that 2,274, or 11%, of schools were deemed ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’ in England- representing just over 1 in 10 schools.
The results also show us that the Ofsted region with the most unsatisfactory schools was the North East, Yorkshire and Humber. In this area, 3,254 schools were inspected and 456 institutions were considered inadequate or requiring improvement. This figure represents 14% of the total, and was the highest percentage in England. The worst area for schooling in the North East was Bradford, where 24% of schools inspected didn’t meet Ofsted expectations. On the other hand, York and South Tyneside both housed the most ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ schools in the area. 95% of schools received this judgement from OFSTED in August 2017.
The region with the fewest inadequate schools, or schools needing improvement, was London. In the capital, as of August 2017, there were 2,469 schools inspected, and 7% of these were negatively reviewed (or 166 schools). The borough with the ‘worst’ schools is Havering, where 16% of schools are described as ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. Boasting the best schools in the capital was the borough of Haringey, where 99% of schools are positively judged by Ofsted.
But is Ofsted an effective way to inspect our schooling system?
Image credit: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com
Upon announcing the new Ofsted strategy moving forward, not everyone has taken the change as a positive advancement. Indeed, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, has said the following on the matter:
“Ofsted needs to understand that the interests of educational professionals are indistinguishable to those of students. We cannot have high quality education if teachers are being driven into the ground through excessive workload and the unreasonable expectations of an out-of-control accountability system in which Ofsted plays a leading role.
Until Ofsted can convince the education profession that its inspections are reliable and consistent, leaders, teachers and TAs will continue to regard it as part of the problem, not the solution, to improving educational outcomes for students and educational standards overall”
This is not the first time Ofsted have announced changes to their regime. The constant swaying depending on the direction of current political sentiment means that some schools struggle to keep up with the changes to inspection framework.
The current Ofsted inspection regime has also been criticised by educational professionals and branded as “ineffective”. Furthermore, it has been stated that Ofsted put children’s education “at risk” and claims that it puts children’s education “at risk” because of the impact it has on teachers and schools.
It has been suggested that to meet Ofsted demands and marking criteria, schools and institutions adhere to a ‘compliance culture’. This means that school leaders aim to provide inspectors with what they want or are expecting to see, rather than what is beneficial to the student body. This results in a feeling of powerlessness amongst teachers to exercise their own professional judgement, and stifles creativity.
The way that Ofsted judge schools, on a four-point scale of ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’, can also be reductive in terms of a school’s functioning capability. The gradings are concluded based on a large number of smaller judgements, which means that “statistical reliability and validity is impossible” and over-simplifies the nature of teaching practice.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) have revealed in a survey that four in 10 of its members have noticed a rise in mental health problems among colleagues, with six in 10 respondents placing the blame on inspection pressures. ATL have further commented on the matter, stating: “The difference of one grade in an Ofsted inspection can precipitate much greater decline in education quality as it can lead to teachers leaving to seek work in more supportive, less pressured environments.”
The teaching union has published its own proposals detailing how school inspections should be changed in order to better suit educational institutions.
The document outlines five “underpinning principles”:
An end to centrally determined criteria defining high-quality education chosen because they are easy to measure, politically favoured or for “short-term media appeasement.
Inspection that is “supportive not adversarial, advisory not dictatorial, empowering not punitive”.
Self-assessment and professional dialogue would be central, with data “used to guide, not decide”.
A continual relationship between inspection teams and schools meaning that inspectors would not always look at all provision on each visit.
Full summative inspections taking place only occasionally, triggered by “local stakeholder request”, including by the local inspection and improvement partnership itself.