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Ofsted Annual Report

November 25th, 2010 by Edward Capewell

On 23rd November 2010 the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, better known as the Ofsted Annual Report was published. The report is of course made pursuant to section 121 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. It can be read here and there is a rather more easily digestible (though quite brief) summary here. The report of course covers the full range of Ofsted’s responsibility – so includes children’s social care and local authority children’s services – but the lion’s share deals with schools (see paragraph 51ff). I set out in this post some of the more interesting features of the report (with apologies for the torrent of statistics):

-          There were nearly 32,000 inspections and regulatory visits made between September 2009 and August 2010. That included inspections of over 6,000 maintained schools      (including academies) and 300 independent schools.

-          Of those schools inspected in 2009-2010, 13% were ‘outstanding’, 43% were ‘good’ 37% were ‘satisfactory’ and 8% were ‘inadequate’ (figures are rounded).

-          The number of outstanding schools was down from 19% the previous year and the number of inadequate schools was up 4% (from 4%). Ofsted is at pains to emphasise however that those figures are largely attributable to the new, more rigorous, section 5 Education Act 2005 framework for inspections which was published on 6th August 2010 (but applies to inspections carried out from September 2009) (fig 16).

-          55% of schools which were outstanding when last inspected were no longer outstanding when inspected in 2009-2010.

-          Nursery schools had the highest proportion of outstanding inspections (59%) with primary schools having the lowest (9%) (fig 13).

-          Nursery schools also had the lowest proportion of inadequate schools (3%) with secondary schools having the highest (13%).

-          Special schools generally performed better than ordinary maintained schools with 35% rated outstanding and 43% good (paragraph 58). However those figures hide considerable discrepancies between types of special school: those catering for children with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties were less than half as likely to be outstanding and more than twice as likely to be inadequate as other special schools. These issues are dealt with in more detail in Ofsted’s recent report on SEN (September 2010).

-          The figures for quality of teaching in different types of school are striking. The teaching in 57% of nursery schools was rated outstanding – the figure for primary schools a mere 5% and for secondary schools only 4%. 52% of primary schools and 47% of secondary schools provided good teaching however (fig 22).

-          Of 43 academies inspected, 11 were outstanding, 9 were good, 20 were satisfactory, and three were inadequate. Most of the academies inspected however were section 482 academies (typically converted from ‘failing schools’) rather than what the report describes as ‘fast track’ Academy Act 2010 academies (converted from outstanding schools) (paragraph 127).

-          The best academies, the report states, have “inspirational leadership”, ”a distinctive and flexible curriculum including a wide range of academic and vocational choices”, “highly committed and effective governance”, “very high and shared expectations across all classrooms” and “stimulating and interesting lessons” (paragraphs 130-132).

-          As at 31st August 2010, there are 300 schools (1.3% of the total) in special measures and 276 (1.2%) which have been given a notice to improve. (For more detail on the destinations of schools placed in special measures or given a notice to improve last year see paragraphs 440-514).

The Prime Minister’s foreword to the White Paper published yesterday promises to “re-focus Ofsted inspections on their original purpose – teaching and learning…” which appears to suggest that there will be another new framework for inspections soon. That no doubt means we can look forward to next year’s statistics not being directly comparable to this year’s, in the same way that this year’s are not directly comparable to last year’s. Not, perhaps, exactly a recipe for achieving what the White Paper calls “a streamlined and effective accountability system”.