Ofsted acumen less than 'satisfactory'

8th January 2010 at 00:00

Rather than chide teachers for naively believing urban myths, Chief Inspector of Schools Christine Gilbert might more constructively publish the hard facts that could bring reassurance ("School inspections have no secret agenda", December 18).

My school was inspected just before Christmas and, despite improvements across the board since our last inspection in May 2007, dropped from a "good" to a "satisfactory" overall. Will the chief inspector publish statistics for September to December 2009? How many schools which were formerly rated "good" have dropped to "satisfactory"? How many schools formerly rated "satisfactory" have risen to "good"?

This must be a simple exercise to conduct and would reassure schools that the new inspection framework is not consistently downgrading schools.

Until this happens, the response of incredulity from my parents, pupils and staff does far more damage to confidence in Ofsted's judgments than it does to strong schools. If, as heads suspect, there is a significant increase in the proportion of "satisfactory" schools, what are we to make of the repeated claim by ministers, and the chief inspector herself, that schools are improving? Apparently this is not the case.

Adrian Porter SJ, Headmaster, Wimbledon College.

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