The Chief Inspector of Ofsted said it was "encouraging" that more schools improved last term under its tough new inspection arrangements.
Sir Michael Wilshaw was speaking on the day that Ofsted published the latest official statistics on inspections and outcomes for schools, covering the quarter ending 31 December 2012.
The new figures show that almost half the schools inspected during the last quarter improved their overall effectiveness judgement (977 - or 47% of the 2,102 schools inspected) from their previous inspection.
Statistics also published today show the proportion of schools judged good or better at their latest inspection was 74% at the end of December - an increase of four percentage points from the previous year.
Sir Michael said that while some of the improvement was likely to be due to the sample of schools inspected during the quarter in question, he believed Ofsted’s new inspection framework for maintained schools was having a galvanising effect on the schools system.
Since September 2012, a new grade of requires improvement has replaced the previous satisfactory grade and schools are given a prescribed period of time in which to improve – up to 4 years. During this period, inspectors inspect and monitor the school’s performance on a more frequent basis.
Sir Michael said:
I believe all children, regardless of where they live, have the right to a good education. In deciding to raise the bar and by stating that good is the only acceptable provision, I was convinced that schools would rise to the challenge. And that is what I believe is happening.
I’m clear that scrapping the satisfactory judgement and replacing it with requires improvement is injecting a sense of urgency in both schools and local authorities. Heads and governing boards now have a much greater focus on tackling the central issues of school improvement.
This is encouraging and I congratulate all those headteachers who are successfully leading the drive to get their school to good.
Sir Michael said that Ofsted is increasingly helping schools to improve through its new regional structure. Her Majesty’s Inspectors, led by Ofsted’s new Regional Directors, are now working with underperforming institutions until they get to good.
We will not walk away but will, instead, use our knowledge of good practice, locally and nationally, to support and challenge headteachers and governors who are determined to raise standards – but with a clear expectation that action will be taken well within the prescribed period of four years.
Notes to editors
- The official statistics release: provisional inspections and outcomes of maintained schools inspections between 1 October 2012 and 31 December 2012 and final inspections and outcomes of inspections between 1 July 2012 and 30 September is available online.
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Published: 7 March 2013