Every year when Ofsted publishes its annual report there is much interest in the ‘state of the nation’s schools’. In 2010/11*, for the first time, Ofsted looked at the most recent inspection judgements for ALL schools open in England on 31 August 2011 to provide a more comprehensive picture about standards of English education.
Ofsted recognised that all schools would not have been judged on the same criteria because these have changed over years (and have since changed again). However, Ofsted said that all schools had been judged on the same four-point scale so it was possible to use these judgements to provide a representative picture.
Ofsted found that 70% of English schools were judged to be delivering a good or better standard of education. The breakdown of figures is:
1 20% of all schools were outstanding.
2 A further 50% were good.
3 28% per cent were satisfactory
4 2% were inadequate.
What about inspections which took place in 2010/11? Didn’t they show that standards in English schools are declining? No, is the short answer. Most of the schools inspected were those previously judged satisfactory of inadequate. Since September 2010 Ofsted only inspects previously outstanding schools if concerns are identified through the risk assessment process and inspects good schools once in a five-year cycle unless concerns are raised. This is what Ofsted found:
1 6% of schools inspected in 2010/11 were inadequate – down from 8% in 2009/10.
2 46% were satisfactory.
3 48% were good or better (remember, these were mainly schools which had previously been judged satisfactory or inadequate).
4 Schools are more likely to improve than decline between inspections (but, remember, most of them started from a lower base). 20% of previously inadequate schools had substantially improved and were good or outstanding.
5 20% of inspected schools declined. This included 40% of the few outstanding schools which were inspected – three previously outstanding schools plummeted to inadequate.
6 Teaching was good or outstanding in 60% of the inspected schools – a slight increase from 2009/10.
7 Only 3% of teaching was judged inadequate. 54% of teaching in secondary schools and 57% in primary schools was good or better.
8 76% of secondary schools and 64% of primary schools were good or better when judged on the extent to which the curriculum met the needs of the pupils. The curriculum was only judged inadequate in 1% of secondary and 2% of primary schools.
9 94% of parents who responded to questionnaires said they “strongly agreed” or “agreed” with the statement, “Overall, I am happy with my child’s experience at this school.”
This picture contradicts the relentless barrage of criticism aimed at English schools. Ofsted found that 70% of schools are good or better when it looked at all the latest inspection reports. That’s seven out of ten. One in five is outstanding.
And an overwhelming majority of parents in schools inspected in 2010/11 were happy with their child’s school.