Ofsted boss outlines rating changes

 

As many as 1,000 outstanding schools could find their status
under review because their teaching is not of the highest grade, Sir
Michael Wilshaw announced today.

The new Ofsted chief inspector also acknowledged that plans to scrap the satisfactory rating will leave more schools in special measures.

And he suggested that top headteachers should be "conscripted" to join Ofsted on inspections.

In his first keynote speech, Sir Michael said that teaching is "central to the life of a school" and should be a key factor in deciding if a school is outstanding.

"We need clear and demanding criteria for a school to be judged 'good' or 'outstanding', he said.

"A good school should have at least good teaching, and an outstanding school should have outstanding teaching.

"Good and outstanding leadership of teaching and learning drives improvement and knows that the culture of the school and the progress of pupils depend on it."

Concerns have previously been raised that a number of schools have been judged as outstanding by inspectors, despite not receiving this rating for their teaching.

Sir Michael told a group of headteachers at an event in central London that one in five outstanding primaries, and half of outstanding secondary schools, around 1,000 schools in total, did not have outstanding teaching at their last inspection.

"Teaching is central to the life of the school, it's the most important thing teachers do," he said.

"This means schools previously judged outstanding might be subject to a review of that status at some stage in the future.

"There needs to be a clear gold standard understood by all.

"And central to that understanding is that teaching is the predominant factor in achieving outstanding status."

Sir Michael has already announced plans for unannounced inspections for all schools, and to scrap the satisfactory rating and replace it with "requires improvement".

Speaking after today's event, Sir Michael acknowledged the impact the changes will have on schools.

"There will be, once the requirement to improve category starts in September, there will be more schools going into special measures.

"But the thing about designating a school in a category is that there is a lot of attention on them."

Schools are placed in special measures if they are found to be under-performing in many areas and need intensive support to improve.

Sir Michael also told today's event that top schools "should not luxuriate in their own outstandingness".

Headteachers of outstanding schools have a "moral imperative and duty" to help others, he said, adding he was in discussions with the National College - which develops school leaders - to introduce "a sort of national service for outstanding heads and leaders".

"These 'conscripts' will join Ofsted on a small number of inspections - no more than six days of the year - to ensure consistency of judgment across the different phases."

Sir Michael reiterated his view that weak teachers should not receive pay rises, with only committed and hard-working staff given financial rewards.

He told today's event that it was "quite legitimate for Ofsted to look at the correlation between the quality of teaching and salary progression".

"There is nothing more irritating in the staff room than seeing someone being promoted or getting more money, who is not doing as good a job as you are," he said.

Sir Michael added: "I know this is a difficult issue and performance management can be a challenging process. But nothing is worse for staff morale than good teachers feeling there is a lack of equity in the way they are treated."

Last week, he had raised concerns that 92-93% of teachers go through pay thresholds, but 40% of lessons are less than good.

The new Ofsted chief also used his speech to warn that gaps in education for rich and poor children remain, saying "without radical change now, we will see more social and economic division in this country - we saw some of it in the summer".

Speaking afterwards, Sir Michael explained: "The point I'm making is that the great majority of young people who took part in those riots were failed by the school system.

"They did not do well in school, and large numbers did not have sufficient qualifications and skills to get a job, and I think that gaps in educational performance are still there."

There is a "yawning divide" between the richest and the poorest, he added.

Union leaders reacted angrily to Sir Michael's proposals on school inspection.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is yet more aggressive rhetoric from a chief inspector who has obviously warmed to the task of attacking the teaching profession from any angle.

"The latest proposals about unpicking an 'outstanding' result for a school from the standard of teaching leaves Sir Michael Wilshaw's proposals appearing to be more concerned with facilitating the Government's policy of converting as many schools as possible to academy status than genuinely aiding school improvement.

"While no-one would disagree that schools need to be performing to the best of their ability, Sir Michael Wilshaw has to accept that the job of teaching is made more difficult depending on the home circumstances of pupils. No increased amount of haranguing of teachers or head teachers will alter this fact."

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "ASCL agrees with the chief inspector that children have only one chance at an education, and we welcome a sharper focus on the judgments that matter most such as the quality of teaching and learning and student achievement.

"Our big concern is the way that inspection judgments are being made. An inspection system is only fair when a good school in a challenging area has the same chance of a high grade as a good school in less difficult area. This is not about making excuses, it is acknowledging the challenges that schools in disadvantaged areas are dealing with, in addition to raising results."

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "His statements today, after barely a month in post, now call into question every Ofsted judgment which has ever been made on any school.

"He is trashing the school system, trashing the reputation of Ofsted and removing anything that parents can rely on by which to judge a school.

"This is puerile game-playing at the expense of schools, their teachers and pupils."

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "I'm glad that the Government appears to have performed a partial U-turn on inspecting outstanding schools. A rigorous Ofsted rating can't be a one-off occurrence.

"The Government should ensure all schools, including those rated as outstanding, are inspected on a regular basis. Parents need to have confidence that a school's Ofsted rating is up to date."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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 Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor