Schools: Inspections

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the trends in the number of exempt schools that require an Ofsted inspection as a result of declining standards; and if he will undertake a review of the regulations exempting schools ranked as outstanding from routine inspections.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has his department made of the effect of trends in the level of school funding on the number of (a) Ofsted rated outstanding schools that have been assessed as (i) good, (ii) requires improvement and (iii) inadequate by Ofsted and (b) stuck schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department has a responsibility to ensure that inspection arrangements are proportionate and achieve an appropriate balance between school autonomy and assurance. That is why we have asked Ofsted to increase the number of outstanding schools it inspects this year, based on its risk assessment, so that those most at risk of decline are inspected.

Given Ofsted inspects outstanding schools where it has specific concerns, it is to be expected that in some cases school performance will have declined. This demonstrates that the risk assessment process is working. Nevertheless, of the 305 risk based inspections of exempt schools undertaken by Ofsted between September 2018 and 31 March 2019, 70% were found to be outstanding or good.

Since 2017, the Department has given every local authority more money for every pupil in every school, and has allocated the biggest increases to those that have been most underfunded. The Department recognises the budgeting challenges schools face and continues to support schools to make the most of their budgets by reducing non staff costs such as energy, water bills and materials.

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