'Satisfactory' schools must do better

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Inspectors will be banned from using the word "satisfactory" to describe state schools, the new chief executive of the education standards watchdog Ofsted says.

Instead, the one in three schools that currently receive the label will in future be termed "requires improvement". They will then join the list of failed schools if they do not improve within three years.

Sir Michael Wilshaw delivered the warning on the eve of a summit at No 10 which will discuss the fate of schools deemed to be "coasting".

Of immediate concern are about 3,000 schools labelled "satisfactory" in two consecutive inspections. Figures show that a third of secondary schools are labelled "satisfactory" after inspections. Grammar schools could also be told to sharpen up.

Under the plans, which will be subject to consultation, any school told that it "requires improvement" will face a second inspection within 18 months. If it still has not improved after three years, it will be added to the list of schools requiring "special measures".

Sir Michael said 700 "satisfactory" schools in deprived areas had subsequently been ranked "good" or "outstanding", which showed that it should be possible for all schools to make the necessary improvements.