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Ofsted to scrap 'satisfactory' inspections

17/01/2012 Kelly
The education watchdog Ofsted announced plans yesterday (January 16th) to replace the 'satisfactory' judgement from school inspections with the label 'requires improvement'.

It is a move that has been implemented with the aim of reducing the number of schools that fail to improve on their satisfactory grading after numerous inspections.

Newly-appointed chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw believes that in doing so he can drive up standards in England's schools.

During the last round of Ofsted inspections the authority deemed that too many schools were "coasting", remaining at the satisfactory classification without improving their standards.

The proposals will now be put forward for consultation but should they get the green light, it will mean that any school deemed not to offer a 'good' quality of education will be labelled 'requires improvement'.

Ahead of his Coasting Schools summit at Downing Street yesterday, Sir Michael said that while the hard work of people in teaching jobs across the country gives many pupils a good school to attend, about one-third failed to achieve the rating during their last inspection.

"Of particular concern are the 3,000 schools educating a million children that have been 'satisfactory' two inspections in a row," he said.

"That is why I am determined to look again at the judgements we award, not only so we are accurately reporting what we see, but so that those schools that most need help are identified and can properly begin the process of improvement."

As part of the proposals, no school would be permitted to 'require improvement' for longer than three years and special measures would be taken should it fail to adequately improve.

Schools that require improvement would also undergo more regular inspections, with inspectors arriving within 18 months of the initial judgement instead of the typical three years.

However, the proposals have not been greeted with open arms by teaching unions.

Chris Keates, general secretary at the NASUWT, questioned the competence of a governing body which appears not to trust its own judgements.

"This is nothing more than another crude ruse to enable the Secretary of State for Education to push more schools into the hands of profit-making, private companies," he said.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801267414-ADNFCR
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