My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

ofsted reports are they ever biased??

20 replies

lovelypair · 03/03/2009 18:10

a local'ish school has fantastic ofsted reports all 1's and 2's, but has high number of non english speaking children, basically very culturally diverse school in not a great area of london.

anyway, hubby thinks that the inspectors would be biased towards schools that are less desirable and give better ratings, what do people think/know?


OP posts:
CarGirl · 03/03/2009 18:13

ofsted only gives a snap shot of what they see for those few days that they are in. You need to read all of it thoroughly to get an indication of what a school is probably like.

LauriefairycakeeatsCupid · 03/03/2009 18:15

They are not biased towards less desirable schools. It sounds like if they're 1's and 2's that there is excellent teaching and genuine addressing of different children's needs.

Culturally diverse good

londonone · 03/03/2009 18:18

Your husband is talking utter tosh! No reason at all why a school with a more challenging intake can't be brilliant. IME schools in more challenging areas are often better than those in middle class areas and if anything OFSTED scores them lower than they should because some OFSTED criteria are simply based on stats i.e SATs results.

lovelypair · 03/03/2009 18:23


this is the profile below, they had 7 outstandings last feb's inspection. they are a small school just over 200 pupils. i am seeing it next week but spoke to someone at the school yesterday and she said that the english is not a problem as they have special teachers and the children learn the language very quickly and my LO wouldn't be held back.

anyway would you send your child here over another school with 2's and 3's but not as diverse?:

The school serves an area containing some severe deprivation. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is high. Almost 97 per cent of pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds. Approximately 70 per cent of pupils are learning English as an additional language. The percentage identified with learning difficulties is very high, but the proportion with a statement of special educational need is average.

OP posts:
spongebrainbigpants · 03/03/2009 18:26

OFSTED reports on value added - so a challenging school with excellent teaching will score highly because the teachers have to work that much harder to achieve their results.

It doesn't follow that all schools in 'less desirable' areas would get low scores!

The last school I did supply work in was failed in its OFSTED cos it was in a very posh area, all the kids could read and write virtually when they entered reception and yet they were only getting Level 4s when they left.

Not much valued added.

londonone · 03/03/2009 18:26

Is there one dominant ethnic group or is it a real mix?

spongebrainbigpants · 03/03/2009 18:28

You can tell much more about a school when you go and visit - are the children happy and motivated? Are they engaged in their lessons? Are the teachers enthusiastic?

If yes, yes, and yes, then yes I would choose that school!

piscesmoon · 03/03/2009 18:41

No, they are not biased. I would read it but then go and see the school. The only way to judge is to visit, see it all and meet the Head on a normal working day.

lovelypair · 03/03/2009 18:41

londonone they dont say

so schools in posh/desirable areas getting low scores/failing, would that be the inspector being biased?? hmmm

more from the ofsted report below, on paper looks good. thanks for all your thoughts

Standards are above average overall and achievement is outstanding. Many pupils enter the school with exceptionally low levels of skills but leave with skills that are above average. Many pupils make exceptional progress. This school has appeared consistently in the top one percent of schools nationally because the value it adds to pupil's education is extraordinary. Pupils make great strides in their learning in English, mathematics and science. At the start of school, a very high percentage of pupils do not speak English. The school's extensive focus on speaking and listening ensures that these pupils also make excellent progress.

OP posts:
lovelypair · 03/03/2009 18:42

agree, have appointment and visiting and meeting head next week!

OP posts:
londonone · 03/03/2009 18:46

lovelypair -

"so schools in posh/desirable areas getting low scores/failing, would that be the inspector being biased?? hmmm"

Not sure what you mean by this?

From that excerpt it sounds like a great school? Whereabouts in the country is it?

londonone · 03/03/2009 18:46

Ah I see it's in london? Whereabouts I may have come across it professionally!

TotalChaos · 03/03/2009 18:48

If they are getting in low attaining kids, who leave with above average schools, sounds like the teaching is absolutely amazing.

Hassled · 03/03/2009 18:49

No, I wouldn't say Ofsted primary reports can be biased. Children are obviously assessed/measured as they enter school (Bury Infant Check and Foundation Stage Profile), and then tracked throughout their career at the school. One of the things Ofsted will look at is the progress those children have made - and to be getting 1s or 2s, with a diverse intake like that, then I'd say that progress, and the quality of the teaching, is pretty damn good.

They'll also be looking at the quality of Leaderhsip and Management, and the quality of the Curriculum amongst other stuff - and they'll be looking for actual concrete evidence that the school are doing what they say they'll be doing. You can't make this stuff up - there's an endless paper trail, linking this to that and to the other. It sounds like a very good school.

lovelypair · 03/03/2009 19:00

londonone sorry what i meant is would inspectors be biased the other way? i.e. more desirable schools getting lower scores as they are so popular...

anyway doesn't matter as from what people have said here i am happy to hear there is no room to be biased!

OP posts:
cory · 03/03/2009 20:11

what would happen with the posh school getting lower rating is that the inspectors are looking at how much extra the children are getting from being in that school. So if they come in at a very advanced level for reception, you'd expect them to leave at a very advanced level for Year 6 children. If they don't do that but leave at an average level, then obviously the school isn't adding as much as it ought to the development of those children. The effect of being there is slowing them down compared to what you might expect from their entry level.

If another school takes in children with a very low level and manages to push them up to a good level through their amazing teaching, then that school is clearly doing more for their pupils than the other school is doing for theirs, so the Ofsted report recognises that,

oopsagain · 03/03/2009 20:18

is ithe school where you live?
If it is your local school then send your child there.
Why walk past what is obviously a fab school to go somewhere else?

Sounds great btw.
It's hard to get the full gist if your original post- what exactly is the problem?

lovelypair · 03/03/2009 20:39

good points cory my dc has been at nursery since he was 11 months so i am sure will have no issues integrating into reception class and would possibly be more advanced so.. oopsagain not a problem more a worry that dc will be held back as the school has high percentage of children that dont speak english to begin with whereas he does and that the ofsted is biased! but i understand that all now.

thanks again all for replying

OP posts:
oopsagain · 04/03/2009 01:55

ohh, but there's so mch more to school....
it sound bloody perfect to me.
I can't stand the way people shun the school my kids go to for very similar reasons.
We live 6 doors from the school- it is a very very mixed community and all i can say is it is interesting, colourful, vibrant and fab

The ofsted isn't as good as the one near you, but it does have good value added scores.
It teaches my (fantastically bright ) children alongside all the others.
It teaches them to understand other people's cultures, race, disabiltiy - whatever.
It teaches tolerance and kindlness. it really is the most nurturing school I'm aware of.

Alot of white people send their kids to the outstanding ofsted school up the road which sounds very broing in comparison.

There is trouble there sometimes- as with any school. But the was the teachers/learning mentors etc deal with it is bloody great

oopsagain · 04/03/2009 02:09

sorry- i will add that we are white and vaguely middle class... and i'm not sure what your background is.
It doesn't do to make assumptions about how life will be- especially where kids are involved.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.