Ofsted ‘Outstanding’? Not if the disadvantaged pupils don’t make good progress …

Finally the government are looking into how to deal with this rather unacceptable attainment gap we have at the moment. Schools in England could be stripped of the top Ofsted “outstanding” ranking if their poorer pupils fail to make good progress, the government has announced.

The aim is to help “further narrow the unacceptable gaps in attainment” between these pupils and their peers.

New measures to show how disadvantaged pupils perform over three years will also be added to school league tables.

“It is vital we support disadvantaged pupils to fulfil their potential”, said Schools Minister David Laws.

From September, Ofsted inspections will focus more closely on how well poorer children are doing, with schools unlikely to be judged “outstanding” unless these pupils are making good progress, says the government.

Currently it is very possible with the current Ofsted inspection system, where they pick out random names and look at the progress of their work, that these disadvantaged pupils will be ignored, meaning that schools are effectively able to ‘window-dress’ their performance geared to those who are higher ability, making the school look better than it may actually be. What I like about this shift of attention is that it is focusing on those children often missed out in the inspections, which means some schools that are currently rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted may end up quaking in their boots if they are not progressing with all pupils from all backgrounds. This is not to say that all schools rated ‘Outstanding’ are in this position. I’m sure there are plenty of schools who have absolutely nothing to worry about at all here.

If we can encourage the progress of those disadvantaged pupils and aid them to meet their potential, we can at least make a step in reducing the current 16% attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in primary school, and 27% of those achieving 5 ‘good’ GCSEs (Grade A*-C). I don’t want to see these disadvantaged children being let down and unable to reach their potential, especially as I believe that every child can achieve, no matter where they are from, and I am living proof of this theory.

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