The focused inspections are part of a concerted programme of action by Ofsted to establish why children in some parts of the country have a much lower chance of attending a good or better school than their peers in other similar areas.
In Wolverhampton, Ofsted’s main concern focuses on the fact that too few pupils reach a good stage of development at the end of either the Early Years Foundation Stage (age 5) or Key Stage 1 (age 7).
During the inspections, Ofsted also gathered information on local authority support for school improvement by asking key questions to the headteachers of a further 14 schools, selected randomly from good or better schools within the area.
Of the 13 schools inspected:
- none were judged outstanding
- 7 were good
- 5 were requires improvement
- 1 was judged to require special measures – this school had declined from a previously good rating
The findings show that the number of schools which require improvement or are inadequate are also well above national figures, with nearly half of schools failing to improve their grade in-between inspections.
Whilst there is some evidence of effective intervention and support by the local authority, Ofsted has highlighted a number of areas for improvement. This includes the need for:
- the local authority to ensure that schools have a greater understanding of its long-term plans for school improvement
- schools to understand the type of support they should be receiving from the authority – as many headteachers and governors describe the current support as weak
Commenting on the findings, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the West Midlands, Lorna Fitzjohn, said:
Ofsted’s focused inspections are part of an initiative to highlight areas where children are not receiving a good enough level of education.
Our inspections in Wolverhampton have shown that too many young people are being failed through the education they are receiving. What is even more worrying is that nearly half of the schools inspected have failed to improve since they were last visited.
This lack of progress in improving schools cannot be allowed to continue. I therefore urge the council to carefully consider today’s findings and work with us to improve the provision of schooling, with the aim of giving all young people in the city the standard of education they deserve.
The letter is on Wolverhampton’s page on Ofsted’s reports website.
Notes to editors
- The primary schools inspected were: Bushbury Hill Primary School; Springdale Junior School; Hill Avenue Primary School; Dunstall Hill Primary School; Woodfield Junior School; Whitgreave Infant School; Rakegate Primary School; Palmers Cross Primary School; Woodthorne Primary School; Bantock Primary School; and St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School.
- The secondary schools inspected were: Deansfield Community School, Specialists In Media Arts; and Moreton Community School.
- On 17 January 2013, Ofsted announced the first wave of focused school inspections across local authority areas, where children are being denied the standard of education they deserve. The press release is available on the Ofsted website.
- Local authority areas were selected for the focused school inspection programme on the basis of the relative proportion of children attending good or better primary schools, as set out in the last Ofsted Annual Report, and Ofsted data on the proportion of children attending good or better secondary schools, as well as any relevant inspection evidence gathered during the autumn 2012 term. These are standard section 5 inspections, which were scheduled to take place this academic year and include all types of schools – although the majority will be primary schools.
- The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.