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Better to fail?

27 March 2012

With Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, amending the “satisfactory” rating for schools to “needs improvement” there has been a recent increase in attention paid to borderline schools.

Studies by the Institute of Education, University of London, and the Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, indicated schools that “just failed” are more likely to do better in the long run than schools just above the boundary, with failing schools achieving on average improvements of 10% in their GCSE results. Rather than damaging morale, schools are prompted to take corrective action leading to sustained results in the long-term.

Despite this, word of mouth and reputation are important considerations for parents when choosing a school for their child. Being labelled a “failed school” will inevitably damage a school’s reputation in its local community. Although schools may address the issues leading to their ‘failure’ and end up a success, failing an inspection itself will cause damage that will take time to repair.

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