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Ofsted inspections for top-rated schools to be reinstated

Since 2012, once rated outstanding, English schools have been exempt form routine inspections to free them from external intervention. However, the Department of Education has recently announced the reintroduction of inspections of top-rated schools to ensure parents get up-to-date information. Ofsted called for their reintroduction after concerns about failing standards.

The exemption aimed to focus resources on the worst-performing schools, despite being criticised at the time. A recent article published by the BBC confirms that some schools have not been inspected for a decade or more, there was a chance their ratings no longer truly reflected standards at the school. A National Audit Office report in 2018 found 1,620 schools, most of them outstanding, had not been inspected for six years or more, and 290 for a decade or more.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, welcomed the announcement to reintroduce inspections for outstanding schools. Paul Whiteman stated that “many of these schools are completely different places now to when they were inspected”. 

The National Association for Head Teachers has previously expressed concerns about Ofsted’s ability to judge a school, saying “in the past outstanding judgements have been largely data driven”. To tackle these concerns and underperformance, the Department of Justice announced:

  • More funding to help top performing academies to expand to support other schools
  • A new specialist academy trust will be set up to turn around the most challenging schools 
  • A programme giving hundreds of schools consistently rated “required improvement” more help from experienced school leaders.

Education Secretary, Gavin Williams, said the reintroduction of inspections to top-rated schools will provide parents with greater assurance that the education provided remains of the highest quality. It is unsure yet as to how or when these inspections will take place.

This announcement comes days after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, pledged a £14bn boost for education and outlined ambition to close the gap in standards across England.

If you are experiencing difficulties in relation to exclusion, Special Educational Needs or otherwise then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist education solicitors on 0333 202 7175.