Ofsted inspection reports published last week show all types of secondary school can be good or better

Janet Downs's picture
Ofsted* published eleven full inspections for secondary schools last week: six were good and three were outstanding.

The three outstanding schools comprised two sponsored academies and one non-academy. They were:

1Sirius Academy, Hull, sponsored by Hull College since 2009, previously judged good.
2Outwood Academy Portland, sponsored by Outwood Grange Academies Trust, previously judged satisfactory.
3Tauheedul Islam Girls' High School, a Voluntary Aided Muslim girls’ school, which maintained its previous outstanding status.

The six schools judged good comprised one sponsored academy and five non-academies.

The Ofsted reports highlighted common themes:

1Good teaching
2Good behaviour
3Good progress
4External support (either from local authority or sponsor)
5Appropriate curriculum pathways.

This small sample of secondary schools shows it is not necessary to be an academy to be judged good or better by Ofsted. It also shows that quality external support contributes towards schools’ effectiveness.

Unfortunately, the Government only recognises support from a sponsor or academy chain and peddles the myth that local authorities are incompetent (hence the sneering term “council-run” schools). But some academy sponsors and chains have not been giving adequate support (and the National Audit Office found a “significant number” of early sponsors reneged on their promise to provide financial help**) while the local authorities of the schools above have been supporting their schools well.

In 2011, Ofsted described qualities likely to be found in schools judged good or better (see here). Academy status was not one of them. Ofsted found good or outstanding academies will share similar characteristics to good or outstanding non-academies.

*Ofsted has been under fire for unreliability, not least by me (see here). But Ofsted reports are widely used to “prove” the superiority of one type of school over another. It’s important, therefore, to publicise what Ofsted is actually saying rather than what the Government claims it says and give equal recognition to good or better judgements for all school types. Ofsted reports can be downloaded here.

**Academy sponsors are no longer required to give financial help. On the contrary, they now receive start-up money as a sweetener.
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