Ofsted’s widespread downgrading of British schools

Watchdog says lower ratings show inspections are needed but teaching leaders voice their criticism

Hundreds of schools previously rated as “outstanding” have been downgraded by Ofsted following their first inspections in many years.

The general downgrading proves that leaving a school to its own devices does not make it better, according to Ofsted, but anger is growing among teachers over the “brutal” inspections.

Why were schools revisited?

During the last academic year, more than 500 schools were visited after a clause that made them exempt from frequent reinspection was lifted. Introduced by Michael Gove in 2012, the clause meant outstanding schools didn’t need regular visits unless there were specific concerns.

However, the exemption was lifted in 2020 after Ofsted warned that over a thousand schools had not been inspected in at least ten years, said Schools Week.

Read more in The Week

Hundreds of schools in England lose outstanding status after reinspection

Only 17% of 370 top-rated schools kept their ranking after many years of exemption from oversight by education watchdog Ofsted.

Hundreds of schools in England have been downgraded by Ofsted after being reinspected for the first time in years.

According to the watchdog, only 17% of 370 “outstanding” schools kept their grade when they had a full reinspection in 2021-22.

Ofsted said it had reviewed more than 500 institutions in the last school year that had previously been exempt from regular inspections, because they had been rated as “outstanding”, the highest grading available.

Read more in the Guardian.

Four in five ‘outstanding’ schools lose top Ofsted grade

Watchdog says data from first full year after exemption lifted shows ‘removing a school from scrutiny does not make it better’

More than four-fifths of ‘outstanding’ schools inspected last year lost their coveted top grade, Ofsted has said, after their exemption from inspection was finally removed.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said the outcomes from the first full year of inspections since it was scrapped “show that removing a school from scrutiny does not make it better”. A fifth dropped at least two grades.

Schools rated ‘outstanding’ were exempt from re-inspection between 2012 and 2020, unless inspectors had concerns about their performance or safeguarding arrangements.

Read more in Schools Week