Two Northampton schools rated outstanding by Ofsted not inspected for decade

Two primary schools in Northampton have been exempt from watchdog inspections for ten years, as Ofsted shifted its focus on failing schools.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 9:01 am

Gayton Church of England Primary School and Hackleton Church of England Primary School have both not had full inspections by Ofsted since 2010 as they have been ‘exempt’ because of their outstanding rating.

It comes as a report by The BBC, published in October last year, revealed that 1,010 outstanding schools had not had a visit from Ofsted in a decade - up from 296 in 2017.

Labour Northamptonshire County Councillor Danielle Stone said: "We should not make an assumption that outstanding schools remain outstanding.

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New Government proposals have been set out to bring an end to some schools going over a decade without inspection. (File picture).

"I think that puts our children and our school communities at risk. Issues to do with governance, leadership, behaviour, quality of teaching and finance can emerge at any time.

"Schools are paid for through public finance. The public needs to know they are getting the service for our children that they want and need."

Ofsted made an announcement this month to visit all schools judged to be outstanding within the next five academic years under Government proposals, bringing an end to the era of some schools going over a decade without inspection.

The change will mean schools rated as outstanding by Ofsted will no longer be exempt from routine inspection, as is currently the case.

Under the proposals in the consultation, launched on January 10, all outstanding schools and colleges will be brought back into a regular inspection cycle – with Ofsted visiting every four to five years.

This will affect around 3,700 schools and colleges rated outstanding when the exemption is lifted in September.

National executive member for NASUWT teachers union in Northamptonshire, Alan Hackett, said: "It's only common sense that you need some form of rigor.

"I can't think of any other industry where you will be given that amount of leeway.

"It's inevitable if you have not been inspected for ten years, complacency will kick in."

On the other hand, the Northampton School for Boys headteacher said his pupils are going from strength to strength since their last outstanding inspection in December 2014.

He said that ten year 13 students last year gained a place at ‘prestigious’ music conservatoires while others were offered 'elite' dance and drama scholarships.

But Richard Bernard said the school feels that a full inspection every five to seven years is a “reasonable interval”.

He said: "In the case of NSB, performance indicators have clearly improved from our last inspection and our academic and extra-curricular achievements continue to be outstanding.

"After a personal visit to the school, NSB was twice referenced in speeches by the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb MP.”