Schools Improving, According to Ofsted
In a week that has had the news filled with talk of teacher strikes, some great news about schools has been unveiled – over three-quarters of the schools in England have boasted rapid improvements that have even been commended by the Ofsted Chief Inspector.
Sir Michael Wilshaw – who openly acknowledges that his strict approach to boosting the school system has not made him “the most popular man in the education world” – has welcomed the speedy improvements of so many schools with open arms and thanks.
The annual inspection figures that were published on Monday demonstrated just how many schools had improved their grade since last year – a whopping 39%! According to Sir Michael, this is fastest surge of improvement he has seen in the 21 years of Ofsted, and that 78% of schools are now classed as ‘good’, or even ‘outstanding’.
As so many schools have made these leaps and bounds, they won’t be subject to quite as many inspections and Ofsted can focus their attentions on the schools that need a little nudge in the right direction, graded as ‘requires improvement’.
Last September Sir Michael the Chief Inspector replaced the ‘satisfactory’ grade with the sterner ‘requires improvement’ because he felt that a ‘satisfactory’ grade encouraged schools to coast along, being happily mediocre.
He hopes that the continued use of the new grading system will encourage more schools to push themselves and be as great as they can be.
In March, Sir Michael was reported to be clamping down on schools where he felt they weren’t acting naturally when an inspection was taking place, stating that Ofsted doesn’t have a particular style of teaching that they prefer, but just wanted to witness pupils engaged by their learning.
Sir Michael feels that the increase in school improvement is a direct result of the change in the term and stricter inspection guidelines: “Headteachers are using the ‘requires improvement’ judgement as a way of bringing about rapid improvement in their schools, especially in the quality of teaching.” He also said that he makes “no apology as Chief Inspector for raising the bar on school standards.”
Ofsted’s Chief Inspector shared how he felt about the school improvements in a press release from Ofsted: “Thanks to the work of dedicated teachers and outstanding headteachers up and down the country, England’s school system is making some genuine and radical advances. It means that thousands more children are getting at least a good standard of education. I am delighted to be able to come here and deliver the news.”