News | Published January 08 2020

Ofsted pursues new diagnostic approach for struggling schools

Schools inspectorate body Ofsted is pursuing a new approach to dealing with schools which have consistently achieved poor outcomes.

The body says that over 400 “stuck schools” in isolated areas of England now need more extensive support rather than being "inundated with improvement initiatives from central and local government…few of which have proved successful”.

Ofsted added that many troubled schools suffered from a “deep embedded school culture, resistant to change, with staff not believing that it was possible to overcome the factors that stood in the way of children receiving a good education”.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, said: "What the remaining stuck schools need is tailored, specific and pragmatic advice that suits their circumstances - not a carousel of consultants. They are asking Ofsted to do more to help and we agree.”

Under the plans, tailored assistance would come through more thorough and detailed inspections, which are to be carried out with no links to previous outcomes or judgements.

Ofsted said in a statement: "We need to increase the depth of diagnoses we give these schools. We are recommending that the government funds Ofsted to trial a longer, deeper inspection approach with some of these schools, with the aim of not passing judgement but of enabling support to improve.

"We have made good progress with the Department for Education.”

The DfE issued a statement of its own, saying: "We have also created a specialist academy trust to work with these schools and make improvements."

A DfE spokesperson also said that it was collaborating with Ofsted to identify the best means of offering support to troubled schools.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
January 08 2020

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