Press release

Ofsted Chief welcomes rapid rise in school performance

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted today hailed the 'unprecedented rate of national improvement' in school performance across England.


Sir Michael Wilshaw was speaking on the day that Ofsted published the latest official statistics on inspection outcomes for the nation’s state schools that show 78 per cent of schools are now judged good or outstanding – compared to less than 70 per cent a year ago.

The 9 percentage point increase represents the most rapid rate of improvement in Ofsted’s 21-year history. It means that over 600,000 more pupils started the new term last week in schools rated good or outstanding than a year ago.

Speaking to a Manchester audience of more than 100 headteachers from across the North West whose schools or leadership have been rated outstanding since last September, HM Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said:

The unprecedented rate of national improvement that this new data shows is cause for celebration.

Thanks to the work of dedicated teachers and outstanding headteachers up and down the country, England’s school system is making some genuine and radical advances. It means that thousands more children are getting at least a good standard of education. I am delighted to be able to come here and deliver the good news.

Sir Michael said he believed changes to Ofsted’s school inspection framework that came into force 12 months ago was clearly having a galvanising effect on England’s schools system.

In September 2012, a new grade of ‘requires improvement’ replaced the previous ‘satisfactory’ grade, with schools in this new category given a prescribed four years to improve – or face the prospect of being judged inadequate. During this period, inspectors inspect and monitor the school’s performance on a more frequent basis.

Sir Michael said:

This morning’s figures illustrate the greater urgency of heads, leaders, governors and teachers to improve their schools to a good standard and not put up with second-best.

Headteachers are using the ‘requires improvement’ judgement as a way of bringing about rapid improvement in their schools, especially in the quality of teaching. And the national improvement we are seeing is all the better for taking place under the terms of a more rigorous school inspection framework.

I am determined to use the power and influence of inspection to improve our education system. The message from Ofsted is unequivocal – the acceptable standard of education in this country now starts at ‘good’.

In total, 7,226 section 5 inspections were conducted in the 2012/13 academic year to June 2013 and published by August 2013. Of these, 39 per cent improved (2,789) since their last inspection, 41 per cent remained the same (2,945) and 18 per cent declined (1,314). In the 2011/12 academic year, 32 per cent of schools inspected improved.

All English regions have seen an increase since September 2012 in the proportion of their schools judged good or outstanding for overall effectiveness at their most recent inspection. The increases varied between 6 and 11 percentage points. The lowest increase was in the east of England, this is now the region with the lowest percentage of schools judged as good or outstanding (72 per cent). In August 2012 the lowest percentage of schools judged as good or outstanding was the West Midlands. The West Midlands snhowed thne highest increase (11 per cent) alongside the north east.

Notes to editors

  1. The official statistics release: provisional inspections and outcomes of maintained schools between 1 April 2013 and 30 June 2013 is available online.

  2. Overall effectiveness judgement of maintained schools inspected between 1 September 2012 and June 2013: 10 per cent outstanding; 54 per cent good; 30 per cent requires improvement; six per cent inadequate.

  3. Most recent overall effectiveness judgement for maintained schools as at June 2013: 20 per cent outstanding; 58 per cent good; 19 per cent requires improvement; 3 per cent inadequate.

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Published 9 September 2013