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Come on, Amanda, give ‘outstanding’ the elbow

Ofsted’s newly appointed chief inspector has talked about the possibility of abolishing the top rating for schools. Here are seven good reasons why she’d be right to ditch it

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When Amanda Spielman, our soon-to-be chief inspector of schools (HMCI), was questioned by the Education Select Committee in June, she said she wanted to have discussions about abolishing Ofsted’s “outstanding” grade as she was “quite uncomfortable about some of the effects you see it having in the system”.

Ofsted is a regulator and an inspectorate. Its remit in identifying and enforcing a clearly defined minimum standard of education is not disputed. Parents specifically, and the taxpayer more broadly, need to be sure that the quality of individual state schools is good enough. Heads and ...

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