Ofsted

Ofsted: Councils won’t get heads-up on ‘inadequate’ judgements

Ofsted

Ofsted will no longer notify local authorities of provisional inadequate judgements of their maintained schools and academies.

But the decision has been met with opposition from the Local Government Association (LGA), which warns schools need immediate support.

The schools watchdog released updated guidance for schools and early education today.

Ofsted provides early notification of provisional inadequate judgements – which are pending moderation – to the Department for Education of maintained schools and academies.

The guidance states: “Historically, the local authority has also been copied into this notification, but this will no longer apply”.

Instead, the local authority will continue to receive notification of the inadequate outcome “only when the final judgement has been made”.

Council group opposes change

Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, chair of LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said it was “disappointed not to have been consulted” on the guidance and the organisation “oppose this change”.

She explained maintained schools judged inadequate would remain under council control for months until a sponsor is found. It was “vital for pupils and student’s prospects and wellbeing, and staff morale, that support is immediately available”, she added.

But an Ofsted spokesperson said the watchdog “thinks it is unnecessary to inform local authorities” before the moderation process.

They said this will ensure action is only taken when the grade is confirmed.

Ofsted explains there may be some cases where it decides the local authority should be notified of safeguarding concerns.

This may happen “promptly after” or even during an inspection, the guidance states.

Local authorities have the overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area.

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