Ofsted confirms end of ‘satisfactory’ schools rating

29 May 12
Ofsted has confirmed that it will scrap the ‘satisfactory’ rating for schools and colleges from September following its consultation on the plan.
Institutions not providing a good level of education will in future be given a ‘requires improvement’ label and will be subject to more frequent re-inspections, the watchdog said.

If a school is judged to require improvement at two subsequent inspections and is still not providing good education at the third, Ofsted is likely to judge the school to be 'inadequate' and place it in special measures.

The inspectorate also confirmed that only schools and colleges judged to be providing outstanding teaching will be given an ‘outstanding’ rating.

Schools inspectors will also now assess performance management arrangements for staff and consider whether there is a relationship between the quality of teaching at the school and teachers’ salary progression.

Head teachers will be given almost no notice of inspections, being informed the afternoon before one is due to take place. This would give schools enough time to make logistical arrangements, but would also reassure parents that inspectors were seeing schools as they really are, Ofsted said.

Announcing the changes today, Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw said: ‘All schools and colleges can, and should, provide at least a good level of education. Parents and employers, children and learners expect nothing less. That is why we are introducing these changes to the way we inspect. Inspectors will be clear about what needs to improve, and will return sooner to those that are not yet good to check their progress.’

But the National Union of Teachers said the changes would do nothing to reassure the teaching profession that Ofsted was independent of political control.

General secretary Christine Blower said: ‘Sir Michael Wilshaw has obviously decided that rather than being developmental and supportive, Ofsted inspections will continue to be punitive and high-stakes for schools, teachers and head teachers.’

She added that having Ofsted consider performance management of pay was another example of it doing the work of the education secretary.

‘Performance management is supposed to be about encouraging teachers in developing their skills, not about judging pay or comparing pupil results. Teaching is a collegiate profession and this is a divisive, unrealistic and simplistic way of looking at how schools work,’ Blower said.


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