Half of Ofsted’s ‘outstanding’ schools face downgrade in new inspection regime

The most highly rated secondaries are having their first Ofsted check for a decade. Many will not escape unscathed.

Hundreds of England’s most sought-after schools will be stripped of their “outstanding” rating as ministers push for a rise in standards to compensate for the months of learning lost to the pandemic.

Amanda Spielman, head of the watchdog Ofsted, said her team had begun a programme of inspections at schools with the highest grade.

She expects the number of England’s “outstanding” schools to fall from 4,133, about one in five, to roughly 2,000, about the same as in 2010.

“We are neither giving schools a free pass nor being unduly harsh,” Spielman said. “It is about what matters for children.”

The schools watchdog is legally required to inspect all schools every five years, but those rated outstanding have been exempt from reinspection since 2011.

Read more in the Times by Sian Griffiths, Education Editor

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