`Complacent' schools are to be named

MIDDLE-CLASS SCHOOLS which coast along and fail to bring out the best in their pupils are to be named for the first time by inspectors.

A new category of "coasting" schools will be created for those whose exam results are satisfactory but who could do better, the Office for Standards in Education said yesterday.

Officials from the office suggested that as many as 3,500 schools, including some highly selective ones, may be attacked for complacency.

Coasting schools will have to produce an action plan and will receive regular follow-up visits from inspectors in exactly the same way as schools which are classified as failing.

Estelle Morris, the school standards minister, said: "We now have the information based on exam results and inspections which enables us to spot with confidence those schools. There is no room for complacency even amongst schools which appear to be getting reasonable results."

Chris Woodhead, the Chief Inspector of Schools, said: "Our very tentative feel for the size of the problem is that coasting schools could represent between 10 and 15 per cent of all the schools."

The changes are part of a new inspection regime, to be introduced from 2000, which will mean there will be more inspections for poor schools and fewer for the good ones.

A consultation paper suggests between 20 and 30 per cent of schools may not need further detailed inspections.

Routine inspections for all schools will take place once every five or six years instead of the present four, but inspectors will visit the worst schools every two years.

Schools which qualify for new "light-touch" inspections will have to show that they have very good exam results compared with similar schools and in relation to the national average, have a faster-than-average improvement rate and also excellent previous inspection reports.

These inspections will be shorter than the present ones and inspectors will not necessarily see all teachers.

Mr Woodhead said the new arrangements were in accordance with the Government's belief of "intervention in direct proportion to success" but the criteria for "light-touch" inspections must be demanding. He added:"Good schools have demonstrated that they can manage their own destinies and further checks ought to be as light as they can be."

The paper also proposes that schools should receive only between four and eight weeks' notice of inspectors' visits compared, with the present two terms.

It argues that this would reduce stress for teachers awaiting an inspection.

n A leading academic yesterday launched a scathing attack on the inspectorate, telling MPs Ofsted was amateurish and inaccurate, with no sound research basis for its findings.

Schools should be subject to random spot-checks, Professor Carol Fitz- Gibbon, of the University of Durham, told the Commons Education Select Committee. She said that Ofsted was misleading parents and wasting teachers' time by providing inaccurate and subjective information.

She said: "It's inaccurate. If you give people inaccurate information they will make the wrong decisions and emphasise areas which are not the problem at all.

"They are diverted into producing development plans and action plans on the basis of poor evidence. They cannot evaluate what the schools are doing better than the schools themselves, and are giving bad value for money."

Professor Fitz-Gibbon is a leading expert on "value-added" analysis, which monitors schools by measuring the progress of individual pupils.

One in four schools use Professor Fitz-Gibbon's analysis of results to help raise standards.

She said: "It is Ofsted's job to show us that their judgements are correct, but there are no studies showing that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before