Special and alternative provision schools face downturn in Ofsted grades

There has been a 155 per cent increase in the number of special and alternative provision schools rated as inadequate or requires improvement.

Schools Week analysis shows that 46 per cent of inspection reports published between January 1 and March 20 this year resulted in the two lowest Ofsted categories.

In the same period last year, just 18 per cent of inspections had the same result.

The biggest difference has been in the alternative provision sector, where 64 per cent of the 14 schools inspected were judged to be inadequate or requires improvement. No alternative provision school was rated outstanding last term.

The picture for special schools is slightly less negative, but one in three were given the lowest two ratings last term, compared to one in six last year.

Five special schools were judged to be outstanding, but one primary special school dropped from outstanding to inadequate.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “The way we inspect special and alternative provision has not changed since we introduced the common inspection framework in September 2015. This includes short inspections for all schools judged good at their last inspection and for those outstanding schools that are not exempt from inspection. As we have stated previously, inspection is increasingly undertaken on a risk proportionate basis. Our latest statistics show that inspectors have judged 92% of special schools to be good or outstanding at their last inspection.

“What matters is that inspectors identify where a provision is going wrong so that it can begin the path to improvement.”

See full analysis of the results here.

[Amended on 20/04/16: “inspections carried out at such schools” replaced with “inspection reports published”; comment from Ofsted added.]

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