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Outstanding schools may be downgraded

Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said in his first speech as head of Ofsted, that unless schools have outstanding teaching, they could be stripped of their overall outstanding rating. He has warned that a quarter of schools rated as outstanding may be downgraded from this autumn.

Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw

Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said in his first speech as head of Ofsted, that unless schools have outstanding teaching, they could be stripped of their overall outstanding rating. He has warned that a quarter of schools rated as outstanding may be downgraded from this autumn.

Just over 1,000 schools were rated outstanding at their last inspection but failed to achieve a verdict of outstanding on the quality of their teaching. Half of outstanding secondary schools and a fifth of primary schools fall into this category. Wilshaw, who is well-known for having turned around failing schools in challenging parts of London, said inspectors would start to re-inspect these schools from this autumn.

Wilshaw commented that teachers of outstanding schools were expected to share their expertise with underperforming schools and should not be doing this unless their teaching was of the highest quality. This follows comments from the education secretary, Michael Gove, who said in September that he was concerned so many schools were judged outstanding when their teaching only obtained a rating of good.

The reforms, which are expected to come in this autumn, would also include the change of the rating of satisfactory to "requires improvement" which Wilshaw has previously said he wants. If schools given this rating do not improve after two inspections, they will go into the emergency category of special measures. This means their headteacher could be forced out and the school could be strongly encouraged to become an academy.

Union leaders said that in recent months government rhetoric against the teaching profession profession had reached record levels and Wilshaw's comments were further evidence of this.

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