Agenda item

Ofsted Inspection Outcome Up-date September 2012 - May 2013


(Report by Mr R Gough, Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform, and Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director for Education, Learning and Skills)


1.          Mr Leeson introduced the report that summarised the performance of Kent Schools in Ofsted inspections during the period September 2013-May 2013.  He highlighted the significant increase in Kent schools that were good or outstanding.  In 2010-11 56% of primary schools were good or outstanding which was a disappointing figure. Through the School Improvement Strategy there was a strong focus to improve this position.  Over the past 18 months those schools judged to be good or outstanding had increased to 68% which need to be continued.  He gave an example that in Dover 83% of schools were good or outstanding.  There had been a significant reduction in the number of school that were judged to be satisfactory.  The 74 schools that were inspected since September 2012, 66 of them were judged as good, some of those 66 schools had been judged to be satisfactory on several previous inspections.  Nearly 90% of those schools that were inspected since September 2012 had a good outcome.  This was very encouraging and reflected on the significant work that had been undertaken by schools and the quality of leadership.  Mr Leeson stressed how critical the quality of leadership was for improving schools and improving the outcomes for the pupils.


2.          There were now SEND schools and secondary schools that compared favourably with the national picture.  Kent Primary schools figures were still behind the national figures but improvement would continue as it had over the past 18 months.  There were now 135 schools in Kent that still required improvement [Not rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding].  Mr Leeson stated that efforts needed to be focused on those schools’ improvement.  Those schools under government policy and Ofsted requirements had to improve in 2 years.  That was the latest expectation from the Chief Ofsted inspector.  This had already been written in the Bold Steps for Education that a satisfactory judgment was not good enough as it did not produce the rate of progress and deliver the rates of pupil progress.  There was confidence that the quality of leadership in schools would improve.  There was also a need to support those existing good schools to ensure continued improvement.  Schools judged as good should be working to be judged outstanding.


3.          Mr Leeson noted comments and responded to questions by Members which included the following:


a)         An opinion was expressed that a failing school should not become an academy.  The focus should be on those schools having the right leadership to improve the delivery of education for those pupils.  It was important that the improved results of primary school pupils continued onto secondary school and into employment.  Mr Gough advised that this was a default national policy that when a school went into category that it moved to academy status which the local authority had to work with.  He advised that Kent had the confidence of the DfE in looking at local solutions where those schools can become part of a bigger academy chain and still work with the local authority.

b)         In response to a question, Mr Leeson advised that there had been 175 inspections since September 2012.  There had been only a few Ofsted inspections where the results had been contested.  There had been issues with consistency with inspections.  A clear statement had been sent to Kent Headteachers on the circumstances that the County Council would support a complaint on an Ofsted judgement. Mr Leeson stated he would only support a complaint where there was a genuine reason to think that there was something odd with the judgement.  He concluded that the Ofsted inspection was a professional process and Headteachers were advised that they must know their data and point out improvements that had resulted in positive outcomes. 


4.          RESOLVED that the responses to comments and questions by Members and the progress achieved in improving the Ofsted inspections outcomes detailed in the report be noted.



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