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give 'requires improvement' schools a chance

11 April 2014

Ofsted is offering new head teachers in schools 'Requiring Improvement' (RI) more time to improve their school’s performance. This follows concerns that quality head teachers are reluctant to join RI schools knowing that Ofsted could come knocking for a section 5 inspection in less than two years in addition to numerous monitoring visits.

While Ofsted is not saying it will agree to delay inspection in all cases, this is a sensible step and we would encourage heads in this position to contact Ofsted as Sir Michael Wilshaw has invited.

What is less clear is whether intervention from the DfE will be similarly curbed. At present we know that many RI schools are approached by DfE brokers who pressure the school to become a sponsored academy, even though an RI school is not technically eligible for intervention. The DfE (and, in some cases, local authorities too) should note Ofsted’s approach and also give new head teachers a fair chance.

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