More small private schools receive top Ofsted grades, but 1 in 10 still ‘inadequate’


Ofsted has reported a 9 per cent rise in the proportion of small private schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, but one in ten remains inadequate.

Analysis published by the watchdog this morning shows that as of August, 75 per cent of so-called “non-association independent schools” received one of the two top grades at their most recent inspection, up from 69 per cent at the same time last year, a rise of 6 percentage points or almost 9 per cent.

Non-association independent schools are private schools that are not part of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and therefore not inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Ofsted is responsible for inspecting these 1,037 schools, a lot of which are smaller faith or special schools.

Despite the recent rise in the proportion of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ non-association independent schools, Ofsted inists there is “still room for improvement”. Fifteen per cent remain at ‘requires improvement’, while 10 per cent are ‘inadequate’.

It follows an investigation by Schools Week which revealed that private schools remained open despite being warned that they aren’t meeting the standards.

The government only began publishing warning notices to private schools for the first time last February, more than two years after a campaign by this newspaper to make them public.

The latest data shows a fifth of non-association independent schools have also failed to comply with the independent school standards. Furthermore, of schools that received monitoring inspections last year after failing to meet the standards in the past, just 44 per cent met the standards.

Non-association independent faith schools continue to underperform compared with non-faith schools. Forty per cent of faith schools are rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’, compared with just 20 per cent of non-faith schools.

Jewish schools are the worst-performing group, with 34 per cent of the 59 inspected by Ofsted rated ‘inadequate’ and 27 per cent rated ‘requires improvement’. Just 3 per cent are ‘outstanding’.

Among Muslim schools, 8 per cent are ‘outstanding’, 53 per cent are ‘good’, 20 per cent are ‘requires improvement’ and 19 per cent are ‘inadequate’.

Twelve per cent of Christian schools are ‘outstanding’ and 64 per cent are ‘good’.

Private special schools continue to perform better than mainstream private schools. Eighty-three per cent of special schools inspected as of August were ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, compared with 67 per cent of other non-association independent schools.

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