A common observation from many families is that many OFSTED reports are extremely out of date.
Certainly many schools rated “Outstanding” have not been inspected by OFSTED for over ten years – an example being this school in West London – https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/21/100346,
The reason for this was an exemption introduced in 2012 that would allow schools rated “Outstanding” and “Good” to be inspected less regularly. The thinking behind this was that OFSTED could focus its efforts on those schools that needed more help, that fell in the “Requires Improvement” or “Inadequate” categories.
As of 2020, this position is changing, with OFSTED now inspecting all schools regularly again. They recognise that there can be many changes in a school’s profile – for example a change of headteacher – that might change the way the school is working.
We are often asked by parents new to the capital whether it is normal for there to be such a high turnover in teachers within state schools.
It has been noted that London schools do struggle with holding on to their teachers, with figures revealing that more than four out of 10 teachers are not working in London five years after qualifying.
Schools across England do struggle to recruit and retain staff, but the problem is most acute in inner London where just 57% of teachers who qualified in 2012 were still working in the classroom by 2017.
Some of this is down to natural movement in the teaching population – especially in London where many teachers view their roles as transitionary or a starting point for further career development away from the city.
However, it is certainly true that both pay and working conditions drive some teachers away from the profession.
The current political party manifestos ahead of the election all call for greater investment in education (it would be a surprise if they said otherwise) but perhaps more resource should be focused on retaining teachers rather than just aiming to recruit new ones.
A common question we hear from families concerns the state school application process.
Many relocating families now apply into the state sector, however are faced with the challenge of forward-planning when using the in-year admissions process.
Most councils and schools require a family to be resident before submitting an application for a state school. This means that if they are looking for a space in January, but it is only early October, they don’t have clarity on which schools will have space.
Councils do this as they need to keep school places open for children who need them on an immediate basis. A family does not become the local authority’s duty of care until they are residing within the boundaries of that authority.
There are however ways and strategies to make the most of “known unknowns” to help families forward plan. For more information, contact our team at email@example.com.
State secondary schools applications close on the 31st October 2019 for September 2020 onwards.
Many schools – especially academies and free schools – allow some pupils entrance based on aptitude, often in the arts or music – accompanied by a reference from their current school.
There does seem to be some leeway here for schools to cherry-pick students in a non-transparent way – based on subjective artistic judgement and a confidential report in to a student’s abilities.