Ofsted downgrades more than half of North East schools during section 5 inspections this academic year

  • Ofsted has downgraded 56.41% of section 5 inspections in North East schools conducted and published in the autumn term.
  • The North East is the only region where the majority of schools inspected – as section 5 visits were downgraded.
  • Over 3 in 4 short inspections in the North East were converted to long inspections by Ofsted during the 2016/17 academic year, compared to less than a third nationally.

According to data published by Ofsted on January 13 (covering inspection outcomes released up to December 31), 7 out of 9 North East secondaries inspected received a lower grade, as did more than half of the region’s primary schools (51.50%).

Compared to other regions, the North East has the highest proportion of schools being downgraded, followed by the South West of England (46.94%).

Overall, of the 39 schools in the region inspected under section 5, nine schools received the same grade as their previous inspection, eight schools were upgraded and 22 were downgraded.


Using the same methodology, we looked at the 2,308 section 5 inspections in England from last academic year (114 from the North East). In the North East, only around a quarter of schools inspected were downgraded (26.32%).

Ofsted conducted 31 short (section 8) inspections during this time period, 24 of which converted to section 5 inspections. Of these, 21 were downgraded and 3 remained the same.

When looking at the proportion of short inspections carried out this academic year that were converted to long inspections, the North East has the highest conversation rate – 24 out of a total of 31 inspections, equivalent to 77.42%. Nationally, 32.01% of short inspections were converted.

No. of short inspections No. converted to long inspections % short inspections converted to long
East Midlands 63 18 28.57%
East of England 62 15 24.19%
London 79 17 21.52%
North East 31 24 77.42%
North West 86 30 34.8%
South East 78 22 28.21%
South West 53 20 37.74%
West Midlands 62 16 25.81%
Yorkshire & The Humber 39 15 38.46%
ENGLAND 553 177 32.01%

When all inspections are taken into account (including section 8), 47.83% of North East schools were downgraded, compared to 17.19% of all schools inspected in England.


Based on our analysis, schools in the region were almost three times as likely to be downgraded compared to the national average.

Cathy Kirby, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the North East, Yorkshire & Humber, commented: “Inspection outcomes fluctuate from time to time and we wouldn’t draw any region wide conclusions from one term.”


One thought on “Ofsted downgrades more than half of North East schools during section 5 inspections this academic year

  1. Pingback: Ofsted study finds consistency in double inspection decisions, but can’t rule out “unintentional influence” by inspectors – SCHOOLS NorthEast Blog

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