Thousands of schools in the United Kingdom that are labeled “outstanding” have not been inspected for years.
After a branch of the National Audit Office (NAO) reviewed inspection records at thousands of schools in the U.K., it found that hundreds of schools labeled “outstanding” had not been inspected for a decade or more.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) investigated and found that 1,620 schools hadn’t been inspected for six years or longer and that nearly 300 schools hadn’t been inspected for 10 years or longer.
“What we can’t tell is if the levels of education in those schools judged outstanding 10 years ago are the same or whether it has changed to become middling, or mediocre or coasting,” Ofsted corporate strategy director Luke Tryl said, according to BBC News, noting that some schools aren’t really outstanding anymore.
Schools labeled “outstanding” by Ofsted have touted the designation and used it as motivation for more kids to attend their school. Given that the title is now largely disingenuous, parents should think twice about sending their kid to a so-called “outstanding” institution. The moratorium on inspections comes after legislators determined that “outstanding” schools no longer had to undergo routine inspections in 2011.
“If Ofsted has reason to believe a school is no longer meeting its previous high standards, we would expect it to use its powers to carry out a full inspection — this has always been the case — and remains so,” Minister of State at the Department for Education Nick Gibb said.
“Ofsted’s role as an independent inspector is valued by parents, headteachers think its judgements are fair, and it is making headway against recent performance shortfalls,” NAO Comptroller & Auditor General Amyas Morse said, the Guardian reported. “The fact that Ofsted has been subject to constant cuts over more than a decade, and regular shifts in focus, speaks volumes,” said Morse, adding that “cheap inspection is not necessarily better inspection,” and that the NAO office will work diligently to ensure schools are better evaluated in the future, Schools Week reported.