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Stuck schools and 5 other key findings in Ofsted's annual report

Off-rolling and a shortage of good MATs also highlighted by the inspectorate

Stuck schools and 5 other key findings in Ofsted's annual report

Off-rolling and a shortage of good MATs also highlighted by the inspectorate

Ofsted has published its annual report into the state of the country’s school system tod.

Here are six key findings from the report.

1. There are too many children in ‘stuck’ schools.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said that although inner-city sink schools have become largely a thing of the past there were too many pupils in “stuck schools”. Ofsted has identified 490 schools which have not been rated as good since 2005.

Ms Spielman said the quality of education in the country was improving but too many pupils had "the deck stacked against them" and warned some had spent their entire secondary education in a failing school.

2. The number of good and outstanding schools fell slightly this year

The report reveals that at the end of August this year 86 per cent of schools were good or outstanding at their last inspection. This compares with 87 per cent of schools in August 2017.

Outcomes are highest for special schools with 92 per cent rated as good or outstanding, compared to 87 per cent of primaries and  75 per cent of secondaries.

Of the 2,470 full inspections this year seven per cent were judged to be outstanding’ 47 per cent were judged to be good, 37 per cent were judged to require improvement and nine per cent were found to be inadequate.

3. Stark regional variation in children’s ability to read

Ms Spielman warned that children failing to learn properly created a cycle which meant they would not be able to read to their own children.

She highlighted a regional imbalance in pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds performance in the phonics check with areas such as Newham and Newcastle performing well while disadvantaged children in more affluent areas like West Berkshire lagging behind.

4. Assessing multi-academy trusts

Ofsted is continuing to push the DfE to allow it to make full inspections of multi-academy trusts (MATs) arguing that this is "one area where our inspection powers have not kept pace with changes in education".

"MATs now generally take responsibility for making many significant decisions, not just about the financial management of schools but also what is taught in them and how it is taught and assessed," the annual report says.

"The fact that Ofsted is unable to inspect MATs directly means that parents and government are missing out on information about an important part of the evolving educational landscape. We look forward to engaging with the DfE as it develops the Secretary of State’s plans for greater MAT accountability."

In the meantime the inspectorate plans to continue to get round this with its batch inspections of schools in the same MAT. But these will now take place over the course of one or two terms rather than a single week.  

The annual report says: “This will allow us to conduct evaluations of mats, with the leaders once all those inspections are completed and the inspection reports are published rather than the following week.

"This offers more time to draw out common themes and gives MAT leaders opportunity for reflection. In order to provide a balanced picture of quality in the sector, these evaluations will look at high-performing MATs as well as those where we might have concerns."

5. More scrutiny for schools suspected of off-rolling 

Ofsted has found that 19,000 pupils were taken off school rolls between 2016 and 2017 with around half not appearing at other schools.

Sean Harford, the inspectorate's national director of education said around 300 schools had been identified with high numbers of pupil movement.

He said these would be subjected to extra scrutiny and added that Ofsted is already highlighting off-rolling in inspection reports.

Ofsted also said the new inspection framework it is launching next year will allow inspectors to better report on schools which off roll pupils.

6. There is a shortage of good MATs

Ofsted has said that unless more good multi academy trusts are found the Government’s plan to deliver system wide school improvement through the academies programme will not be realised.

The report says the halfway house approach to academisation is not working and the matching of schools to is "not happening anywhere near as quickly as the inspectorate would hope".

It said that in some cases this has left local authority schools judged inadequate to be in limbo for over 18 months before they became an academy in a MAT.

Ofsted said more outstanding schools and school leaders are needed to step up to the challenge of providing system leadership.


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