Individuals in teacher jobs have helped many of their schools to improve their performance in recent inspections, new figures from the education watchdog indicate.
Of 2,102 schools inspected by Ofsted during the final quarter of last year, nine per cent were rated as outstanding, 55 per cent as good, 31 per cent as in need of improvement and six per cent as inadequate.
In comparison with the 2011-12 academic year, this implied a small reduction in the share of schools deemed outstanding, but with a compensatory increase in the number of good schools.
Moreover, 47 per cent of the schools inspected between October and December 2012 performed better than they had done last time they were visited by Ofsted, whereas just 12 per cent fared worse.
This was significantly up from the 32 per cent of schools who showed improvement in inspections during the previous year, although the watchdog said this would have owed at least in part to the samples of schools visited.
Since September 2012, the category of 'needs improvement' has replaced the 'satisfactory' rating, with schools subsequently given a period of up to four years to enhance their performance, during which they will be visited more frequently.
In the opinion of Ofsted's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, this change has helped drive the improvements many schools showed in the last quarter, by injecting head teachers and local authorities alike with a new "sense of urgency".
Sir Michael remarked: "I believe all children, regardless of where they live, have the right to a good education.
"In deciding to raise the bar and by stating that 'good' is the only acceptable provision, I was convinced that schools would rise to the challenge. And that is what I believe is happening."
He also stated that Ofsted's new regional structure, with inspectors - under the guidance of the watchdog's new regional directors - working with schools until they achieve a good rating, had had a positive impact
London and the north-west had the highest proportions of schools rated good or better, at 80 per cent in the past quarter, whereas at the other end of the scale, this applied to only 69 per cent of schools in the West Midlands and the East of England.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels