Ofsted has removed the dates of inspection from revamped promotional logos for good and outstanding schools, but has denied it is because of “embarrassment” over lengthy gaps between visits.
The education watchdog has unveiled new logos for schools given a grade one and, for the first time, grade two ratings. But the revamped logos do not include the inspection year.
Schools rated outstanding have long been allowed to use an official logo, but allowing good schools to use an official logo on websites and in promotional material marks a policy U-turn. The watchdog previously threatened legal action against education providers using logos to promote this rating.
Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said it was likely the watchdog removed the dates because of “embarrassment” over the length of time between inspections for some schools.
If I were Ofsted, I wouldn’t want to be advertising the length of time between inspections
Schools Week revealed in January that more than 1,200 schools in England have not had a full inspection for seven years, with more than 100 given respite for longer than a decade.
Bousted said: “If I were Ofsted, I wouldn’t want to be advertising the length of time between inspections because more schools deemed outstanding can go over a decade, which I don’t think is an effective way to run an accountability system.
“The question must be asked why has Ofsted taken the dates off. Could it be because the date between inspections is an embarrassment?”
An Ofsted spokesperson said the date was removed “to update and streamline our logos, and to simplify the process of acquiring one.
“The overall aim is to improve our digital practice, and make it easier and more inclusive for the providers we inspect.
“We don’t think it makes it less informative. Anyone wanting to find out when a particular school was last inspected can still do that very easily.”
Schools Week’s sister paper FE Week revealed last summer that Ofsted threatened legal action if an unnamed training provider, which had a bogus
Ofsted good logo on its website, did not remove it in 14 days.
Policy guidance, in place since 2000, says that Ofsted doesn’t “issue a good logo”. But an investigation by Schools Week found many schools graded good were using modified versions of a logo in various materials.
An Ofsted spokesperson subsequently said the “time was right” for a review of its policy. It then decided to launch a “good” logo following feedback from organisations.
But since the launch some schools appear to have been inundated by companies trying to sell new signage.
Just two days after Ofsted’s announcement, Meadow primary in Cambridgeshire tweeted: “14 emails so far trying to sell me an Ofsted good banner for front of school.”
The school, which did not return Schools Week’s request for comment, said that it would “rather spend the money on our children”.
Schools can download the logo from Ofsted’s website. The spokesperson added: “We are conscious that parents and learners rely on Ofsted as a mark of quality.
“Therefore, only providers currently holding a good or outstanding grade for overall effectiveness can apply the relevant logo to their branding materials.”