Ofsted: Just 23% of reinspected outstanding schools kept their grade

More than three quarters of ‘outstanding’ schools reinspected by Ofsted in the last four months of last year failed to keep their grade, new figures show.

The watchdog has today published its first analysis of the performance of previously-‘outstanding’ schools since it stepped up inspections last year.

Between September and December 2018, 23 per cent of ‘outstanding’ schools, which are typically exempt from re-inspection, maintained the top grade after they were revisited by inspectors.

Of 117 “exempt” schools inspected between September and December last year, over a third were rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

In total, 27 remained ‘outstanding’, 50 were downgraded to ‘good’, 35 were rated ‘requires improvement’ and five were given the lowest grade of ‘inadequate’.

Ofsted has been lobbying the government to lift the exemption afforded to the top-rated schools, warning that many will have declined since their last inspection. Today’s figures seem to back up Ofsted’s warning, and will prove problematic for a government that has so far resisted calls for a change to the law.

In December last year, the schools minister Nick Gibb demanded that Ofsted review its risk assessment arrangements and ensure it inspects 10 per cent of ‘outstanding’ schools and colleges this year. Previously, they would only be reinspected if Ofsted was tipped off about safeguarding issues or if data showed a problem.

However, he said the exemption itself would remain in place, and has not indicated whether Ofsted will get more money to help it meet his demands.

Today’s data also shows that the proportion of schools that improved after being inspected following a ‘requires improvement’ judgement has fallen. Last year, 58 per cent of RI schools improved, compared with 71 per cent in 2015-16.

A DfE spokesperson said: “As these statistics show, standards in our schools have risen significantly since 2010.

“Ofsted inspects outstanding schools where specific concerns have been raised so while 65 per cent of those schools reinspected are good or outstanding, it is only to be expected that in some of these cases schools will have declined, and this shows that its risk assessment approach is working.”

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  1. The DfE is being disingenuous. Note how it softens the decline in outstanding ratings in inspected exempt schools by saying how many remain not just outstanding but ‘good and outstanding’. That’s to draw attention away from the awkward fact that only 12 (12%) of the 102 which had a full inspection remained outstanding.