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How many Suffolk 'outstanding' providers had falling Ofsted ratings this year?

PUBLISHED: 18:37 19 December 2019

There were 32 education establishments in Suffolk that began 2019 rated 'outstanding' and had another inspection this year. Picture: THINKSTOCK

There were 32 education establishments in Suffolk that began 2019 rated 'outstanding' and had another inspection this year. Picture: THINKSTOCK

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More than half of the 'outstanding' education establishments inspected by Ofsted in Suffolk this year have declined in standards, it has emerged.

Graham White from the Suffolk NEU branch said schools needed to be helped to improve rather than inspected frequently. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDGraham White from the Suffolk NEU branch said schools needed to be helped to improve rather than inspected frequently. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

But data showed that just six of the 32 had fallen to the bottom two ratings by education watchdog Ofsted.

Between January 1 and December 18 this year, 32 establishments which started the year with the top rating were inspected.

The list, which included primary and secondary schools as well as nurseries and pre-schools, included 14 that retained the 'outstanding' rating - 44%.

Of the 56% which dropped, 12 were rated 'good', four were 'requires improvement' and two were 'inadequate'.

Ofsted has come under fire in recent years for allowing 'outstanding' providers to be exempt from re-inspection, leading to some instances where schools have not been assessed for as many as 12 years.

However in September, the Department for Education confirmed this exemption would be axed as part of measures to improve school standards.

"Some outstanding schools have not been inspected for a decade and this programme will ensure that parents have up-to-date information about the quality of education their children are receiving, and that standards remain high," a spokesman said.

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Suffolk data earlier this month revealed there were seven schools which had not been inspected for a decade or more.

Graham White from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union said: "From a union perspective we are not in favour of more inspections.

"Teachers review their performance constantly, and there is no reason why schools cannot inspect themselves.

"We don't necessarily need this external inspection that'll review a school and then the school has to live with that outcome whether it's good or bad.

"That [review] only has relevance the week they visit.

"What schools need is help to make them better, and I think they can be used to share good experience."

Some of those schools have since converted to academies, meaning they are run outside of local authority control, but have not been re-inspected since their last inspection under their old name.

A spokeswoman from Suffolk County Council's education team said that improvements for poor performing academies are monitored by the regional schools commissioners rather than the local authority, although the council can offer to provide assistance.

For schools which are still run by the local authority, their involvement in improvements is much bigger,

A spokesman from Ofsted has been approached for comment.

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