Ofsted have just released their annual report for 2013/14. I have collated the key issues.
After a year of major educational reforms (including changes to pupil assessment, a phase-out of national curriculum levels and tougher exams at GCSE and A-level) it has been a challenging year for many schools. Ofsted’s recent annual report outlines the main reasons for the various successes and challenges that schools have faced across the country.
Ofsted found that 23% of secondary schools have leadership and management that are inadequate or requires improvement compared with 16% of primary schools. The main reasons were:
• not ensuring consistent quality of teaching across all subject areas
• failing to keep a relentless focus on high standards
• not implementing effective CPD
• restricted development of promising senior and middle leaders
• not holding staff to account
• insufficient engagement with governors in discussions
• appointment of the wrong headteacher.
• GCSE results were flat over last three years.
• Pupils achieving five GCSEs grades A* to C including English and mathematics fell to 55.9%.
• However, this was brought about to some extent by the government’s changes to performance tables and examinations.
• The gap in attainment at GCSE between pupils from poorer backgrounds and their more affluent peers is ‘not closing quickly enough’.
• Too often, high-attaining 11-year-olds do not go on to achieve A and A* grades at GCSE.
• Pupils doing well in the national tests at 11 +3%.
• Students are not being challenged enough in a third of secondary schools.
• Good teachers are in short supply where they are needed most.
Ofsted has called for:
• more attention to be paid to the progress SEN pupils make in developing personal and social skills
• focused intervention and strategies that are tailor-made for vulnerable children
• high expectations of what SEN pupils can achieve
• a thorough understanding of their pupils’ needs
• the right teaching support is available to them at just the right time
• support by staff with the least expertise in subject areas and teaching methods.
Teaching and Learning
The proportion of teaching that is good or outstanding in primary schools has risen but it has been slower in secondary schools. This was often due to:
• lack of effective differentiation
• lack of accurate assessment
• insufficient value of effective challenge
• transition from primary to secondary not handled well enough
• struggles to identify pupils’ needs
• failure to ensure constant quality of teaching
• uninteresting teaching
• lack of pupil engagement
• inconsistent behaviour management
• insufficiently strong school ethos.
Ofsted concluded that isolation can lead to underperformance and schools need to collaborate and share resources and expertise.