Ofsted's Annual Report 2010/11 was published yesterday (November 22nd), compiling the 31,000 inspections the school watchdog carried out over the academic year into a single study.
Announced by the outgoing chief inspector Miriam Rosen, the report - Tackling Failure – The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills 2010/11 – found that in many instances a negative inspection result had spurred schools into improvement.
The total number of schools placed in the category of concern had fallen from 553 at the end of 2010 to 451 by the end of August this year.
Similarly, one-fifth of all schools judged to be inadequate during their last inspection are now considered to be good or better in this year's report.
Ofsted revealed that underperforming schools placed under special measures are now turning things around quicker than before, after an average of 18 months compared to the previous 20.
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Miriam Rosen reflected on the report, saying: "Inspection is about helping services to improve so that children, young people and learners of all ages can benefit from the very best.
"It is therefore encouraging to see from this year’s Annual Report the strides being taken by some of those who have previously been judged to be failing."
The education watchdog recently announced changes to inspection process, focusing on targeted inspections and Ms Rosen added that she hopes that the new system further encourages the continued improvements schools and youth services are making.
After the second full year of unannounced inspections of local authorities' children's social care, the annual report revealed that the majority of weaknesses identified in 2010 had been addressed.
However, the 2010/11 report emphasises the need for institutions which have been consistently deemed satisfactory by inspections to have greater ambitions.
Of almost 800 schools inspected this year, 14 per cent were judged to be satisfactory two years running, while 16 of the 84 colleges inspected during the period were found to be satisfactory for the third year in succession.
Commenting on this finding, Ms Rosen said it was a "great concern" that so many schools, colleges and childcare providers were failing to improve their services beyond what is deemed satisfactory.
"Ensuring that there is real improvement must be a matter of urgency for these organisations," she said.
The report repeated the findings from last year which emphasised the need to improve the quality of teaching across the education system.
While there has been an improvement across the board, teaching was still found to be no better than satisfactory at almost half (41 per cent) of all schools, while no college this year was judged to be outstanding for teaching.
However, within the context of targeted inspections, some 39 out of 84 colleges were considered to be good or outstanding while 41 were satisfactory and four were inadequate.
Overall, some 11 per cent of schools were deemed to be outstanding. Forty-six per cent were good, 38 per cent satisfactory and just six per cent inadequate. In comparison with last year's figures, the number of outstanding schools has declined by two percentage points, while those good and satisfactory have climbed by four points in total.
"There are still far too many underperforming schools making painfully slow improvements," schools minister Nick Gibb said of the report.
"It is worrying that Ofsted finds that 800 schools are stuck steadfastly at a satisfactory rating in inspection after inspection."
Mr Gibb added that the government's reform package, including a focus on Academies, is designed to raise standards across the board "by freeing up teachers to get on with the day-to-day job in the classroom but making sure there is stronger, clearer accountability to the public".
Published by Tim Colman