From education to employment

Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Ofsted on Ofsted, analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals that the Conservatives have let over 1,000 schools go unvisited by inspectors for over a decade.

Figures published yesterday (28 November 2019) ‘State-funded schools inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2019’ reveal that 1,048 schools have not been visited by an Ofsted inspector since 29 November 2009.

Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted in their previous inspection are no longer inspected routinely, unless concerns are raised.

This means that safeguarding or other problems with a school that are not reported to Ofsted can go unnoticed for years.

Boris Johnson today has restated a policy to remove this exemption. His Government first promised to do this two months ago but he has failed to deliver.

New figures show that of the 593 previously outstanding schools that were inspected last academic year, more than half saw their grade drop and 113 were rated ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to replacing Ofsted with a new schools watchdog that teachers and parents can trust.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary, Layla Moran, said:

“Boris Johnson is playing fast and loose with the education and the safety of our children. Hundreds of thousands of pupils could be in declining schools, but we simply don’t know.

“The Ofsted brand is fundamentally broken. It creates a huge unnecessary workload and stress for both pupils and teachers. It needs to be replaced with a schools watchdog that parents and teachers can trust.

“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for our children. We will support schools to succeed rather than punish them for failure. We will reverse school cuts, employ 20,000 more teachers and create a new schools watchdog that won’t let our schools go ignored for years on end.”

A Liberal Democrat analysis has found that:

  • 1,048 schools have not been visited by an Ofsted inspector since 28 November 2009;
  • Of the 593 schools previously rated ‘Outstanding’ that were inspected in the 2018/19 academic year, 230 were downgraded to ‘Good’, 92 to ‘Requires Improvement’ and 21 to ‘Inadequate’.

Under the Liberal Democrats’ proposals, a new HM Inspector of Schools would inspect all schools at least every three years. To reduce the stakes of inspections, schools would no longer receive an overall grade, but instead be judged separately on several criteria to give a more-rounded view of a school’s performance.
Schools would also no longer be forced to turn into academies or find a new sponsor if they had a poor inspection. Instead, the inspectorate will focus on identifying the areas where schools need to improve or require support, so that they can make lasting change.
Teaching unions have welcomed the party’s policy. Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union described the Lib Dems’ proposals as “very welcome and will lift some of the high-stakes element of inspection from schools’ shoulders.” 

Related Articles