Chichester Observer

New inspection­s for our schools

- Joanna Morris Data reporter

Dozens of ‘outstandin­g’ West Sussex schools are set to face inspectors for the first time since controvers­ial exemptions were axed.

From September, Ofsted will resume inspecting schools and for the first time in almost a decade, and those deemed outstandin­g will also face compulsory routine visits.

Figures from the education watchdog, covering 268 of West Sussex’s primary and secondary schools, show that 25 received an outstandin­g rating the last time they were inspected.

These include Bishop Luffa School, Graffham Church of England Infant School, Midhurst Rother College, St Philip Howard Catholic School and The Weald School.

Under rules introduced in 2012, those schools became exempt from being routinely reinspecte­d and only faced scrutiny if concerns were raised about performanc­e.

The exemptions were introduced to give outstandin­g schools more freedom. But the guidelines mean many schools across England have gone years without being visited by inspectors.

The coronaviru­s pandemic saw Ofsted suspend all routine inspection­s, but in line with the lifting of restrictio­ns across the country, inspectors will begin their visits again in September.

The move to remove exemptions for outstandin­g schools, announced by the Department for Education in October, was welcomed by the Associatio­n of School and College Leaders (ASCL), while the National Education Union said outstandin­g schools should never have been treated differentl­y.

Geoff Barton from ASCL said the exemptions had been well-intentione­d but had resulted in parents going too long without the ‘verificati­on of an inspection’. He added: “It is time to reverse the policy.”

Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman said: “We had long called for the exemption for outstandin­g schools to be lifted. I am very pleased that all schools will now be inspected routinely once our full inspection programme restarts this autumn. This change will reassure parents and ensure that the outstandin­g judgement itself remains a genuine beacon of excellence.”

All formerly exempt schools must be inspected within the next five years and Ofsted will prioritise schools that have gone the longest without an inspection.

 ??  ?? Outstandin­g schools can expect inspection­s soon
Outstandin­g schools can expect inspection­s soon

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom