Twenty three schools have seen a fall in their inspection rating after being hit with a no-notice inspection from Ofsted – with ten of the schools dropping by more than one grade.
The schools were part of a wave of 35 such inspections carried out in September and October following the ‘Trojan Horse’ revelations.
Among the issues identified in the inspections were weaknesses in teaching and learning, concerns about governance, and problems with the curriculum being followed.
The inspectorate said that at 11 of the schools, the curriculum being taught meant that they “were not preparing pupils for life in Britain today”.
While the majority of schools saw a drop in their overall effectiveness grade, one of those inspected – Richard Alibon Primary School in Dagenham – increased from requires improvement to good.
In an advice note published today by Ofsted (pictured below), the inspectorate said that the schools were chosen because concerns existed over one or more of: the breadth and balance of the curriculum; rapidly declining standards; safeguarding; standards of leadership or governance.
In the case of one of the schools inspected however – Highfield Junior and Infant School in Birmingham – the headteacher and chair of governors were not present when the inspection was carried out, highlighting one of the problems with the use of no-notice inspections.
In the advice note to Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, which summarises the findings, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw (pictured) said that the findings validated Ofsted’s approach.
He wrote: “This exercise has confirmed that we have the regional intelligence and the appropriate powers to conduct inspections without notice where serious concerns have been identified.”
“Nevertheless, inspectors reported that there were logistical drawbacks to inspecting without notice because of difficulties in effectively engaging with school leaders, governors and parents.
“This view is consistent with Ofsted’s previous consultations on the use of no-notice inspection and supports my decision that we should not move to routine no-notice inspections for all schools.”
The advice notice makes three recommendations:
– that the Department for Education (DfE) “continue to reinforce the requirement on all schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and promote British values”
– that the DfE “should ensure that leadership and governance training programmes emphasise the importance of promoting British values, including tolerance and mutual understanding”
– that the DfE “should continue to remind schools of the legal requirement to publish key information, including curriculum plans, on school websites”
Sir Michael also said that he would be meeting leaders from faith communities in the coming weeks “in order to discuss Ofsted’s inspection frameworks and guidance”.
He also said: “I am committed to using my existing powers to conduct no-notice inspections more widely where there are serious concerns.”
On Friday, the outcomes of seven no-notice inspections carried out in the London borough of Tower Hamlets were released.
The reports saw one Church of England secondary school rated inadequate – down from outstanding – after Ofsted raised concerns that not enough had been done to ensure that pupils understood the risks of extremism. The inspection report also criticised the use of different entrances and different play areas for boys and girls.
Six private Islamic colleges in Tower Hamlets were also strongly criticised by Ofsted. In an advice note to the Education Secretary, Ofsted Chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said that he was concerned the pupils at the schools could be vulnerable to “extremist influences and radicalisation”.
The 35 schools, and their results listed in the advice notice, below.
Source: Ofsted advice notice, analysed by Schools Week