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Failing an Ofsted inspection improves schools

16/02/2012 Joanna
English schools that fail their Ofsted inspection tend to improve following the findings, a new study has indicated.

The London School of Economics (LSE) research discovered that schools deemed to be failing by the education watchdog generally see their subsequent test scores improve, the BBC reported.

While people in teaching jobs, as well as union leaders and heads have criticised Ofsted in the past, research author Iftikhar Hussain found that the inspectorate was good at recognising when schools were performing well.

In his in-depth report, 'Subjective Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector: Evidence from School Inspections', Mr Hussain assessed the validity of Ofsted's work and found that in was doing a "reasonable job".

Taking the scores of 500 secondary schools from across England, the researcher compared the results with government data on what 14-year-olds think about their schools and teachers alongisde opinions from parents.

"The critical issue is whether inspection ratings summarise information about underlying school quality that is not already available in the public sphere." The news provider quoted him as saying.

"My findings demonstrate that on this measure, inspectors appear to be doing a reasonable job."

The Sussex University lecturer and LSE research fellow also looked at Key Stage 2 Sats results for ten and 11-year-olds before and after a school had failed its Ofsted inspection.

According to the study, schools showed "significant improvements" in their results following the inspection.

As part of the research, 16,000 pupils who had been at schools when they failed an inspection were tracked until the age of 14 and the findings led the academic to conclude that the inspection results provided long-term benefits to pupils.

Newly-appointed Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw recently announced changes to the inspection system that will see the 'satisfactory' grading replaced with 'requires improvement' in a bid to stop schools coasting along without raising standards.

He also plans to raise the criteria by which schools can achieve 'good' and 'outstanding' results.

"I believe we need radical improvements to the education system in this country," he said in a speech recently.

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