Research and analysis

Schools that stay satisfactory

This report presents the inspection data on secondary schools that seem to be 'stuck at satisfactory', and then examines the inspection history of a sample of these schools in more detail to understand why they have not improved consistently.


Schools that stay satisfactory

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This report focuses on two questions: what are the characteristics of secondary schools which appear to be ‘stuck at satisfactory’? and why have these schools not been able to improve?

As of April 2011, there were 2,153 secondary schools that had been inspected at least twice under inspection frameworks with the same four ‘overall effectiveness’ judgements of outstanding, good, satisfactory, and inadequate. Of these, 473 were found to be satisfactory at both their most recent and their previous inspection. One hundred and thirty-nine had been satisfactory for three consecutive inspections in a row.

This report looks in detail at the recent inspection history of 36 schools that were judged to be satisfactory at both of their most recent inspections. A large majority of these schools were also judged to have had satisfactory leadership and management in both inspections. Three of the 36 were graded good for leadership and management on the first inspection, and two on the second. Only one of the 14 which had monitoring visits in between the full inspections was judged to be making inadequate progress.

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  • Executive summary
  • Key findings
  • Methodology
  • Part A: The national picture
  • Part B: Schools’ inspection histories - why do schools stay satisfactory?
  • Conclusions
  • Annex: Data
Published 1 December 2011