Ofsted’s new reporting framework

My son’s school was inspected in December. The report was released on 26th February. The reason for the delay was that Ofsted changed their approach to reports and all reports have been rewritten to the new framework.
My son’s school was judged inadequate, which doesn’t tally with my understanding of the school. What happens now is that as a result of being placed in special measures, the school automatically starts moving towards academy status. I don’t want that to happen. We have been told we have 10 working days to appeal, which by my calculation takes us to 12th March.

I am curious about this rewriting of Ofsted reports. Why? Could it be linked to the desire to push more schools towards academy status? As John Harris suggested in a Guardian article back in September 2013, “There may be reasons why primary schools are now finding themselves downgraded and pushed into the clutches of outside sponsors: 49% of secondary schools are academies, but only 7% of primaries are”.
I went to look at Ofsted’s data view site to see what the ratio of outcomes of Ofsted reports have been. How many primary shools are judged as “inadequate”?
This table is based on primary schools only, and the categories are (from left to right) outstanding, good, satisfactory and inadequate.
So, in the annual data up to august last year, the number of “inadequates” is very small, a steady 2%.
According to the schedule for releasing data, the data on these most recent reports will be released on 12th March. There is a change in categories now, to outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate. But they are pretty similar categories so perhaps the latest bunch of reports might show a change in the proportions of “inadequate” ratings.
I went to look at the most recent reports. I filtered for primary schools, and came up with 150 reports. I started the laborious process of logging the outcomes into a spreadsheet. Luckily, the wonderful Tony Hirst came to my rescue, when he realised I was attempting this “by hand”. He applied his data wrangling skills and built a process to scrape the data. He has documented his method. That man deserves a medal for usefulness.

So: 150 reports published in the last week that have been subject to the rewriting under the new regime.

outstanding good requires improvement inadequate total
13 55 59 23 150
9% 37% 39% 15% 100%

and when I formatted it for comparability, it looks like this:

So in August 2013 the % of primary schools judged as “inadequate” was 2%. In the 150 reports released this week, that percentage is 15%.

That looks like a statistically significant change to me.

With thanks to Tony Hirst for data scraping help and Linda Scannell for the Guardian article link.


9 thoughts on “Ofsted’s new reporting framework

  1. And yet academy chains are having to give up schools under their care that are ‘failing’ – so what reason is there to think that academies action improves things?

  2. Went through similar horrible cycle with daughters school last year, mandatory academy status due to “failed” SATS a few years ago -note they were boycotted not failed. Luckily we were saved from the brink by a “Good” ofsted 6 month ago. Very relieved. Nobody wanted to be an academy, parents teachers governors etc, but powerless in the face of Oxfordshire CC.

  3. Hello There

    This is a great article 😀

    You can use http://www.watchsted.com/analysis to find out the count and percentage of inspections between any two dates (if the dates are after 1/1/2012), like you’ve done here.

    It is interesting that in the national figures you show only 2% of schools are inadequate in but over the time period you have highlighted it is much higher.

    However that is primarily because Ofsted are not inspecting a random sample of schools in the time period you discuss. Ofsted (correctly) inspect schools that were previously graded 3 or 4 within ~ 18 months (I think it might be less). Whereas those previously ranked 1 or 2 can go up to 5 years without an inspection. (Although those ranked 2 will be considered within 3 years (lookup interim reports)).

    This means that the sample you are discussing is likely skewed toward schools that were previously in the 3 or 4 category.

    Note that as of 2nd March 2014 Watchsted says that 2.6% of primary schools are category 4 see http://www.watchsted.com/tables (untick LAs and regions)

    Kind Regards


  4. We were told that only schools with data above average in all categories can be judged as good. Everyone else goes into RI or inadequate.

  5. I attended a Preparing for Ofsted training session for governors. We were told that the government wants no more than 6-7% of schools in the Outstanding category. In Dorset where I live, 33% of schools were currently rated outstanding. Draw your own conclusions.

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