Hundreds of ‘outstanding’ schools accused of drop in standards

Hundreds of ‘outstanding’ schools accused of drop in standards

Latest figures from Ofsted reveal that almost a third of schools that had previously been graded as outstanding, have now been downgraded.

According to the latest data which covers the period from September 2018 to March 2019, only 16 per cent of ‘outstanding’ schools maintained their top grade. Twenty-five per cent were downgraded to ‘requires improvement’ while 5 per cent were judged to be ‘inadequate’. A further fifty-four per cent were graded as ‘good’.

Although ‘outstanding’ schools are usually exempt from routine inspection for up to ten years, Ofsted can inspect if concerns have been raised about performance or safeguarding issues.

During the seven month period up to March 31, 2019, Ofsted inspected 305 ‘outstanding’ exempt primary and secondary schools.

Its inspectors found that only 49 of the 305 ‘outstanding’ exempt schools remained at this grade. This compares with 49 of 150 outstanding exempt outstanding schools inspected during the previous academic year.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, who has previously called for the exemption from routine inspection for outstanding school to be lifted, claimed that the latest figures should set alarm bells ringing.

“The fact that outstanding schools are largely exempt from inspection leaves us with real gaps in our knowledge about the quality of education and safeguarding in these schools, she said.

“Some of them have not been inspected for over a decade, and when our inspectors go back in, they sometimes find standards have significantly declined.

“We believe most schools judged outstanding are still doing outstanding work. But for the outstanding grade to be properly meaningful and a genuine beacon of excellence, the exemption should be lifted and Ofsted resourced to routinely inspect these schools.”