Ofsted annual report: 130 schools not rated ‘good’ for over a decade

The schools watchdog has identified 130 schools that have not been rated ‘good’ for over 10 years, despite investment and attention.

Although Ofsted’s 2016-17 annual report paints an improving picture of England’s schools – 90 per cent of primaries and 79 per cent of secondaries are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ – some continue to struggle.

In its report, the first since Amanda Spielman took over as chief inspector in January, the inspectorate highlights 80 primary schools and 50 secondary schools inspected this year have not been rated good at any point since 2005.

However, the real number may be higher, because, as Schools Week revealed in July, the data for more than 700 schools is missing from Ofsted statistics after their records were wiped when they converted to become academies.

Ofsted has proposed changes to the way it presents statistics, which will involve re-adding the past grades of turnaround academies, but those proposals are still out for consultation.

Spielman said the 130 schools highlighted in the report were in the same state because help targeted at the schools is not making a difference.

“What we’re seeing is that an enormous amount of help has been pointed at these schools in different ways but somehow it doesn’t seem to be hitting the spot, it’s not necessarily getting through and changing what happens in the workplace,” she said.

“We shouldn’t cheat any child out of the future they could and should be aiming for.”


More on Ofsted’s annual report…

65 inadequate schools STILL not converted after 17 months

More challenging KS2 SATs are leaving poorer pupils behind

Religious schools increasingly ‘flouting’ British values

RI schools fail to improve at record levels

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  1. Mark Watson

    It’s all very well trying to make this into a story about academies, but it’s not. Simply put, 130 schools have been failed by their local authorities for over 10 years. God knows how many children have been affected by this, and it’s simply not good enough.
    If an academy trust did not manage to improve a school to at least Good after ten years then unless there are extremely good reasons why it shouldn’t happen (and it’s hard to think what these might be) then the school should be rebrokered to a trust that can make a difference and improve it.
    Communities should not be failed, generation after generation, by having schools that are not up to the mark.
    So from those commentators that cannot accept the principle of the academies programme, I would love to hear what you would say to the parents forced to send their child to a school that’s been systematically failed by the Council for over a decade and where there is presumably zero optimism that anything will change.

    • Mark – some of the 130 schools judged as worse than good since 2005 have become academies and have not improved since becoming academies. For example, 37 of the 52 secondary schools judged less than good since 2005 have become academies and were found not to have improved when inspected in 2016/17. It would be wrong to say that these 37 had been ‘systematically failed’ for ten years by their LA.

      • Mark Watson

        My point, and my question, still stands.
        I believe that if the academy trusts that took on these schools can’t turn them round and get them to at least good over 10 years of ‘stewardship’ then they should not be allowed to continue operating them and they should be moved somewhere where they stand a chance of improving.
        So the question to you is, if a local authority has run a school for over 10 years with it being rated as less than good, do you think they should just be allowed to carry on regardless?
        What happens if it’s 15 years, 20 years? Does there ever come a point where you would agree that a local authority is not the right body to run a school?

          • Mark Watson

            I don’t mean to be confrontational or to put words into your mouth, but does this mean that for those schools that are still in local authority control and have not been rated as good for over 10 years you would favour leaving them with that local authority?
            If so, would there be any length of time after which you would say enough’s enough, or would you be ok for a local authority to run a school where it hadn’t got to Good for 20 years?

          • Mark – there is no easy answer as I made clear in my article. But shuffling schools ‘somewhere’ smacks of activity rather than action.
            And remember that LA-maintained schools are not under LA ‘control’. They are separate legal entities. Academies in MATs aren’t.
            There was nothing wrong with the old ‘satisfactory’ criteria. Downgrading satisfactory schools to requires improvement implies they were failing when they were not. Satisfactory schools can improve of course – but it’s wrong to imply they were failures as Spielman has done.
            I would favour changing Ofsted criteria to just two – ‘value for money’ (satisfying Ofsted criteria) and ‘not value for money’ (not satisfying Ofsted criteria) and a rolling programme of inspections over five years (more frequently for schools in the former category). Any inspection judgement over five years would lapse.

          • Mark Watson

            In a community school, who makes the decision to hire or fire a teacher?
            In a community school, who decides whether to build a new classroom block?
            I find it rather disingenuous to claim in this discussion that LAs don’t control schools, when on many other pages you talk about how great a job some LAs do in running schools. Either they’re running the schools or they’re not – which is it?
            And there is an easy answer to my question, whether you want to be pushed to give it or not. If an LA is failing a school for over a decade, and continues to fail it for another decade, in your eyes should that school be forced to stay with that LA? It really is as simple as yes or no.

      • Mark Watson

        Furthermore, your figures don’t really give the full background information.
        Firstly, you only refer to the 52 secondary schools. What about the 78 other schools?
        Secondly, you say that 37 of the 52 secondary schools have become academies. However the critical missing information is when that happened.
        We know that this means 15 secondary schools are still local authority schools and have been rated as less than good for the whole 10 year period in question – all of which is down to the local authority (unless you can explain otherwise).
        But of the 37 that are academies, how long have the academy trusts been running them? It could be that all 37 became academies in 2006, in which case the academies have been running them for almost all the time since and the problem is down to the academy trusts.
        Or of course it may be that during this 10 year period the academy trust may only have been running the schools for a short period of time.

        • Mark – I was writing only about the 57 secondary schools which had been found to have been less than good since 2005.
          You’re right to say that we don’t know how long a converted school had been with a MAT but Ofsted allows a time lapse before inspecting converted schools.
          A further point, which I make in my latest LSN post, is that before 2012 there was no ‘requires improvement’ label for Grade 3 schools. Such schools were judged ‘satisfactory’ ie satisfying the criteria. The RI label has been used retrospectively to show satisfactory schools hadn’t satisfied the criteria but were failing. The Ofsted chief has done just that.

          • Mark Watson

            So non-secondary schools don’t matter?
            Or could it be that more of those non-secondary schools are still with their local authorities, thereby making it less easy to try and make this an academies issue?
            It’s all well you saying now that “you’re right to say that we don’t know how long a converted school had been with a MAT”, but your LSN article doesn’t refer to this important qualification – it simply said “Becoming an academy didn’t improve 37 of 52 secondary schools judged less than good since 2005”.
            As for your last point, my understanding was that “satisfactory” became “requires improvement” when it was felt that simply being satisfactory wasn’t good enough and all schools should strive to be at least ‘good’. Speaking as a parent I think that’s quite right – simply being satisfactory wouldn’t be acceptable for me and my child.

          • Mark – You’re right that primary schools which have been less than good for ten years are more likely to be LA-maintained as 75% are still LA-maintained.
            However, when Ofsted discussed the number of schools which had been less than good since 2005 it gave figures only for secondary schools (see paragraph 40 on page 32 of the report). It would have been difficult to be so precise about primary schools when the data I used referred only to secondary schools).

          • Mark – Re ‘satisfactory’. If my doctor provides satisfactory treatment, then I am satisfied. S/he’s satisfied the necessary standards.
            That’s why I would prefer Ofsted to have just two judgements as I say in another comment.

          • Mark Watson

            Then we are very different in that regards Janet. I want to be in good health, not satisfactory health.
            A quick google on the meaning of satisfactory threw up a health related definition – “not deteriorating or likely to die”.
            Personally I’d like to aim a little higher than that!