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Are Ofsted being unrealistic about 3 sub-levels of progress?

(85 Posts)
SockPinchingMonster Mon 20-May-13 13:21:08

My children's school has just had an OFSTED inspection and has been downgraded from an 'Outstanding' school to one which 'Requires Improvement'. This was a bit of a shock to be honest - the school has a great reputation, has good SAT's results and from helping at the school myself I would say the school feels like a 'Good' school (not sure that I would describe it as outstanding as I feel there are a few areas that could be improved a bit).
Anyway the school have sent out a letter to parents saying how unfair the current criteria is to get a good or outstanding rating. They say that the main reason they were downgraded is because children had not achieved 3 sub-levels of progress between KS1 SAT's and KS2 SAT's, however the school has great SAT's results and is in the top 20% nationally for SAT results. Their argument is that children enter the school with a lot of knowledge already and have had a lot of parental input so are already at a good level when they start and it is therefore difficult to achieve the number of sub-levels progress that is expected.
So i guess i'm wondering if anyone (teachers especially) can shed any light on this 3 Sub-level thing - is it unfair and unachievable or are my children's school just making excuses and really they should be able to bring children up 3 sub-levels. My gut feeling is that it's unfair, but then a few of the comments OFSTED made about the school not challenging more able pupils sufficiently have me worrying about the standard of education in the school. If this 3 sub level thing is so hard to achieve does it mean that a lot of schools are going to be downgraded?

TheSmallPrint Tue 21-May-13 15:55:11

Our school has just had it's Ofsted inspection and come in as Good. It has been Good for a long time but I think that it has vastly improved under the new head and so felt that they were hard done by. When speaking to the head she told me that she thought the result was correct as the grading has been changed quite a lot and now it is very, very hard to get an outstanding. On that basis, I think with our old head we may have been moved down a level.

teacherwith2kids Tue 21-May-13 17:03:29

Nynaeve's sister,

But of course many schools don't have 7 years. Included in a school's results may well be children who have been there only a couple of years or less. Children who have attended 5 or 6 schools in total. Children in care or from families who move around a great deal or who arrive in mid-juniors with no English. Children with significant SEN - a school I have worked in had over 30% of children on the SEN register at any one time, even though the work put in to move children off the register through intervention was amazing. In a small school, 3 or 4 children with statements in a single class can make a big difference to the statistics....

FadedSapphire Tue 21-May-13 17:56:55

I hope Ofsted take such things into account teacher...

teacherwith2kids Tue 21-May-13 18:00:47


IME it did when that school was inspected - because they looked at PROGRESS and not (as Nynaeve's sister has) looked only at absolute final levels. Yes, a percentage of the children didn't get Level 4 BUT the progress that they showed - and the work that was going in to help those children to make that progress - was sufficient for a Good Ofsted grade.

radicalsubstitution Tue 21-May-13 18:26:49

Our 3 strongest teachers were not even observed

This comment really concerns me. For a school to be graded as Outstanding for teaching, observed lessons should be 'no less than good'.

If there is such a difference between the performance of its strongest and weakest teachers that 3 teachers make the difference in Ofsted grading from 1 to 3 then the school should not be rating as Outstanding for teaching in the first place.

The whole '3 levels progress' thing is very dishonest.

Blissx Tue 21-May-13 19:55:41

fourlittleangels, in answer to your question on the previous page, can I get you to consider the following? Australia and Finalnd do not have
Ofsted equivalents and are not inspected and yet they are held up as shining beacons of educational excellence by 'those on high'...

fourlittleangels Wed 22-May-13 11:43:27

Blissx funny you should mention Finland as it is a country we have seriously considered moving to, along with Norway, due to their education system. I think the difference is that their system is so different and outwardly successful therefore there seems to be some faith in the system.

You only have to compare curriculum restraints as a starting point to see how stark the difference is and their way of living and lack of private school, impeccable pre school care etc. Maybe if 'we' looked around we could see what is going 'wrong' rather than just put an ofsted system into place to assess but not a lot else!

beauty67 Sat 15-Jun-13 13:18:09


Sounds like what's happened at my sons school,you're not in Hull by any chance are you?? School in top 20% of schools in country and downgraded from 'Outstanding' to 'Needs improving'.Is there room for improvement in the school?? Yes! that goes without saying for every school but to downgrade from 'Outstanding' to 'needs improving' just leaves me thinking either:There's something going on behind the scenes that us parents don't know about(this wouldn't shock me) OR that Ofsted reports should be taken with a large pinch of salt,they pick up on things that really are quite pathetic sometimes(just as plausible).They put so much pressure on the schools and sometimes unjustly so,who in turn put pressure on the kids to out perform other schools etc.It amuses me to hear parents bragging how G+T their child is because they are a level 5 and their child is boosting the school up in the league tables etc when in fact it's how many levels the child has progressed from entry to sch-end of key stage 1 then to end of key stage 2.Most sec schools base G+T on a level 6 so gonna be a lot of upset parents and kids in Sept.My statemented child was 18-24mths behind on entry to school only getting a 1c end of key stage 1 in Yr2(not even a 1c in Maths)now he's in yr6 he's on level 4b/a's in all subjects up to end of last term...that's as much as 11 sub levels in key stage 2....Now I think that's amazing BUT the thing I care about most is my child's happiness and well being.He is polite,extremely well mannered and an absolute pleasure to be around.I would pay as much attention to an Ofsted report as I would a SAT's result.An Ofsted report can change depending on who you get on the day/s same as a SAT's test can be down to what questions you get on the day.That's my theory :-)

junkfoodaddict Sat 15-Jun-13 20:50:39

OFSTED should not be trusted. They change the criteria every so many years. I have been through FOUR OFSTED inspections and EVERY ONE has been under different criteria. Quite frankly, if OFSTED are having to change what is considered 'good' or 'outstanding' every 3 or 4 years, then the fault doesn't lie with schools, it lies with them because it shows they haven't a friggin' clue about what consitutes a 'good' or 'outstanding' school!!
My school was grade 3, despite the LEA saying it was a 2 and our SEN provision being graded as 1. The leading inspector had NO PRIMARY SCHOOL EXPERIENCE. He ADMITTED that if the inspection came after the SAT results, then the grading would likely to be different. He even ADMITTED that the inpsection was a political one - a move to 'show' that LEAs were not doing their job effectively to support and improve schools so they (OFSTED) could sideline into school improvement services. The new OFSTED framework has been changed to force schools into becoming academies.
But making a 30% jump in children attaining level 4+ at the end of Year 6 within 3 years does not show good progress apparently!

sony4 Sun 14-Dec-14 12:28:17

Be interesting to see what happens when we have life without levels

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