Data shows quarter of Herts attend outstanding schools but Ofsted is criticised

School officials have criticised the Ofsted system
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A quarter of Hertfordshire children attended top-rated state schools in 2021-22, new figures show.

The findings come as the Association of School and College Leaders criticised the Ofsted rating system, warning it works against schools placed in the lower categories.

Ofsted inspectors visit every primary and secondary school about every four years for an inspection, and will give it one of four possible ratings – outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

The Ofsted system has been criticised for working against the schools placed in lower categories.The Ofsted system has been criticised for working against the schools placed in lower categories.
The Ofsted system has been criticised for working against the schools placed in lower categories.

And the latest Department for Education data shows 26 per cent of the some 203,000 children in Hertfordshire attended schools rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted in the last academic year. Across England, the figure is calculated at 18 per cent.

Meanwhile, there were 1,029 pupils – less than one per cent - in Hertfordshire attending schools rated 'inadequate'. Such schools are placed in a 'category of concern', and required to become a sponsored academy with another local school trust. Across the country, the figure is two per cent.

A further 64 per cent of children attended good schools, while eight per cent were at schools that ‘require improvement’ – 69 per cent and 10 per cent across England, respectively.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders criticised the Ofsted system which affects property prices, making it harder for low-income families to live near better schools.

Mr Barton said: “We all want great schools for our children. The question is how we achieve that objective and the problem with the current system is that Ofsted ratings are simply counter-productive.

"Once you are deemed ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ it’s the devil’s own job to escape that category because it’s harder to recruit staff and your pupil roll – and hence funding – falls.

"The system has to change so that inspection outcomes are more nuanced, supportive and genuinely aid improvement where it is needed.”

A Department for Education spokesperson defended the system: “Parents rightly want to know how their child’s school is doing and I fully support our approach to providing a clear one-word rating to inform their decisions.

"Ofsted has been central to our success in driving up school standards, with 88 per cent of our schools now rated good or outstanding - up from 68 per cent when this Government came into office.”