DfE: 54,000 fewer pupils in ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools

Fifty-four thousand fewer pupils are now learning in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’-rated schools than were two years ago, the Department for Education has said.

The government has today published an “ad-hoc notice” on school inspection outcomes, which reveals the number of pupils in schools with the top two Ofsted grades stood at 6,731,000 as of March this year, down from 6,775,000 at August last year and from its peak of 6,785,000 in August 2017.

It also means that the increase in the number of pupils now in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools since 2010 has fallen below the 1.9 million figure often quoted by ministers. The actual figure is now 1,868,000.

Ministers are now pointing instead to the proportion of pupils in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools, which stands at 85 per cent.

The Department for Education has also announced that 80,000 more pupils now study in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ sponsored academies than did in December 2017, a 27 per cent increase.

Sponsored academies are schools that underperformed under local authority control, prompting forced conversion.

However, between January 2018 and January this year, the number of pupils in sponsored academies in general rose from 988,382 to 1,093,821, an 11 per cent rise. The number of sponsored academies also increased from 1,956 to 2,166, also an 11 per cent rise.

The DfE says the rise shows that standards “typically rise faster in many sponsored academies than in similar council-run schools”.

However, this conflicts with the findings of a Local Government Association study in May which found schools with poor Ofsted grades were more likely to improve if they stayed under local authority control than if they converted to academies.

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