How outstanding is Outstanding?

The integrity of the gold standard of English state education – the OFSTED “Outstanding” rating – has been brought into question.

The head of OFSTED has commented that these top-rated schools are a “blind-spot” in the education system as they are inspected so infrequently.   The decision by the government in 2011 to exempt outstanding schools from routine inspections – brought about by a need to focus limited resources on poorly performing schools – has meant that some schools had not been inspected in over a decade.

Even schools rated “Good”, the second category, only receive a one-day inspection every four years.

The government provides a counter argument that annual performance data provides parents with transparency on how a school is working and that OFSTED would inspect a school in response to parental concerns.

Performance data is helpful – though not always easy to understand since the introduction of a parallel measurement of  pure performance in testing and student progress measurement.  There is also useful information to be mined – though harder to interpret –  with such key indicators as pupil spend, attendance and socio-economic background.

However the importance of on-the-ground support is vital here – revealing soft data such as changes in leadership, teacher turn-over, school morale and pressure on space – that is often impossible find through the Google search.

 

 

Client feedback

Very kind feedback from an Australian client who has moved to Manchester.

The girls started at school today. 
I can not thank you enough for all your help, work and guidance with schooling for the girls. We are super excited (along with a lot of nerves this morning) to start at the school. I am immensely grateful to have had your help through this process.  

SEN Funding Cuts in London

Thousands of children with special needs are paying the price of a “crisis” in education funding, one union has claimed.

Official figures show the number of youngsters with special educational needs plans or statements that are awaiting school places has more than doubled in a year.

The National Education Union (NEU) claimed that local councils are being “starved” of the money they need for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with youngsters forced to stay at home because authorities do not have the cash to provide a suitable education.

Overall, as of January last year, there were 287,290 children and young people, up to the age of 25 in England, that had an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or a statement of special educational needs.

From the Telegraph