Ofsted admits schools in disadvantaged areas still less likely to achieve ‘Good’

Under the new Ofsted Inspection Framework, schools with more pupils who are ‘deprived’ are still less likely to be judged ‘Good’ than schools in more affluent areas.

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director of Education, admitted that the new framework had not made judgements for schools more equitable, despite Amanda Spielman claiming last year that the changes would “reward schools in challenging circumstances that are raising standards through strong curricula”.

Harford claimed that Inspectors do take context of schools into account in their judgements and said “it’s unrealistic to think that a new inspection framework is suddenly going to result in a huge leap upwards in inspection grades for schools in disadvantaged areas…. Some of these children are unfortunately not getting the education they deserve. Ofsted has to draw attention to that.”

So far, of inspected schools, 64% of those in the most deprived quintile have been judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, compared to 77% of schools overall.

Speaking at the Schools North East Summit 2019, Lord Agnew highlighted that ‘of all the regions, the North East has consistently had the lowest proportion of young people in good and outstanding secondary schools.’

As one of the regions with the highest levels of long-term high-impact disadvantage, this means that the North East could potentially still be at a disadvantage when it comes to the new framework. Schools North East will be looking at data from the first term of inspections in January to analyse what trends are emerging.

While it is still too soon to fully judge the effectiveness of the new framework, these indications show that specific contexts weren’t sufficiently taken into account. Schools North East’s Manifesto for North East Education is calling for politicians and policymakers to fully consider how policies will affect the region before implementing them. You can find out more on our Manifesto website.

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