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Ofsted to have stricter standards

Ofsted has tightened the rules for schools to be awarded the ranking of ‘outstanding’, after concern that many who are rated so highly do not actually deserve it. The new rules will focus on pupils’ behaviour and reading ability, as well as the quality of teaching provided.

Education Secretary Michael Gove called it “a worry” that so many schools are judged as outstanding overall, despite having not achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating for their teaching and learning.

In Ofsted’s last report, in November, 13% of schools were rated as outstanding, 43% as good, 37% as satisfactory and 8% inadequate. However, 923 of the 3,577 overall ‘outstanding’ schools were individually marked as only ‘good’ or ‘very good’ at teaching.

Inspection will now focus on the following categories: achievement of pupils; the quality of teaching and learning; the effectiveness of the leadership and management; and standards of behaviour and safety.

Schools ranked ‘outstanding’ will no longer have routine inspections, unless there are concerns that standards may be slipping. Schools judged to be ‘good’ will be inspected every five years, as they are now, while ‘satisfactory’ schools will be inspected every three years.

The schools minister Nick Gibb said: “This new way of inspecting schools will allow Ofsted to spend more time in the classroom and to concentrate on things that really matter to parents, such as pupil behaviour and the quality of teaching.”

From next month, parents will also be able to fill out an anonymous questionnaire on the Ofsted website, and these comments will be considered in their judgements.

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