Schools face crackdown from education watchdog

Sir Michael Wilshaw wants to scrap Ofsted's 'satisfactory' grading
Sir Michael Wilshaw wants to scrap Ofsted's 'satisfactory' grading
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EDUCATION inspectorate Ofsted has announced plans to scrap its ‘satisfactory’ grade and replace it with a new grade of ‘requires improvement’.

If plans go ahead seven schools and eight nurseries in the area will have to improve by their next inspection or will be included in the new classification.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, who announced the plans on Tuesday, said: “There are too many coasting schools not providing an acceptable standard of education.

“Of particular concern are the 3,000 schools educating a million children that have been ‘satisfactory’ two inspections in a row. This is not good enough.”

If the plans are approved the ‘requires improvement’ schools will be inspected every 12 to 18 months instead of every three years, which is currently the case.

They will also be given only three years to show improvements - and if they fail they will be placed in special measures.

Sir Michael added: “I make no apology for making even greater demands of an education system which has to respond with greater urgency to increasingly difficult and competitive economic circumstances.”

Huntingtower Primary School headteacher Mark Anderson helped to transform it from Ofsted’s lowest rating ‘inadequate’ to ‘good with outstanding features’ in three years.

He said: “Having been in the ‘satisfactory’ category I know how difficult it is, everybody aspires to be a good school. But it’s a very hard job to crawl out of that situation.

“Being in a ‘satisfactory’ school is a tough place to be and being ‘inadequate’ is even tougher.”

When Mr Anderson joined the school in 2008 he said he did not aspire to be leading a ‘satisfactory’ school he was aiming for ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings.

He said: “I would be very surprised if any schools that are ‘satisfactory’ are content with being there.

“All heads are aspirational and all staff aspire to be ‘good’.

“If I’m honest I don’t know anyone who needs more motivation than that.”

The new three year deadline to improve a school to a ‘good’ standard could be a difficult job but Mr Anderson added: “It depends on the circumstances. When I first came here we had a high turnover of staff and until you’ve got stability it’s difficult to move forward. Once you’ve got that success rapidly comes.

“If I was moving a school from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ I would want to have done it in three years. But there may be reasons why they stay at ‘satisfactory’ for a while.”

For more on how the Grantham area schools rate see the Grantham Journal or go to www.ofsted.gov.uk