Today’s presentation of the Ofsted Annual Report from Sir Michael Wilshaw to the Education Select Committee

13th February 2013

There were four recurring areas:

  1. Wilshaw, like The Academies Commission, is particularly keen on school to school collaboration to improve standards, especially for schools in disadvantaged areas. Ofsted are considering recommending that National Leaders or Teaching Schools are only appointed if they support other schools in disadvantaged areas. They are also considering an additional ‘Excellent Leadership’ grade for outstanding leadership in schools in disadvantaged areas.

  2. In the next few weeks, Ofsted are due to release a data dashboard for every school that will present RaiseOnline data in a simplified manner: this could be particularly helpful for governors in gaining snapshots of student progression.

  3. Wilshaw emphasised that progress not outcomes should be the focus for schools. This would seem to link to the DfE’s proposals for the new accountability measures (although we are still keen to hear more on how this will work).

  4. It sounds as though Ofsted inspections at academy chain level are imminent. However, it is still unclear what role Wilshaw sees Local Authorities performing in relation to underperforming academies. He outlined that LAs had a responsibility for addressing underperformance in all schools and if an academy was refusing to engage with the LA, the LA should write to the DfE to alert them of the situation.

Now on this last point, it feels a little like Local Authorities are in a no-win situation. They will be judged on how well they manage schools they have no jurisdiction over, as Liz Truss explained last week. Surely LAs will just end up creating a paperwork trail of letters they’ve sent to the DfE telling them of local schools’ failures. They also have precious few resources to intervene even if an academy does welcome them in. And if there are chain level concerns, how will they raise concerns across regions? Plenty of questions still left unanswered then…