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How does 'serious weaknesses' affect other ratings?

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by secretteacher2357, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. secretteacher2357

    secretteacher2357 Occasional commenter

    Hi all, I'm hoping some of you Ofsted veterans can help me out here. I'm moving from a 'serious weaknesses' school to another 'serious weaknesses' school. They are two very different schools, however. My former school has been in serious weaknesses for going on 6 years now, and walking through the doors you can tell straightaway what the problems are. Student behaviour outside of lessons is poor, behaviour for learning from a sizeable minority is poor, results are poor and progress is poor, despite the efforts of a hard core of dedicated staff to turn things around. Unfortunately a constantly changing SLT has resulted in most of the more senior (and expensive) teachers to be 'encouraged to leave', to be replaced by NQTs, HTLAs and 'teachfirst'.
    The new school is very different. Without giving too many details, the outcomes in the majority of subjects at Y11 are excellent (75%+ A* to C in most core and non-core subjects) and the student behaviour is outstanding inside the classroom and at unstructured lunch and break times. I have spent a few days there to acclimatise myself (I'm a new HoD starting in September) and spent a fair bit of time in classrooms around the school.
    When the Ofsted report came out I knew they were in serious weaknesses because of a couple of areas that are being aggressively addressed, which didn't overtly concern me because I know they are a fairly straightforward fix. However on reading the report, although those couple of areas were given 'inadequate', every other area got an RI. Behaviour got an RI, which astounded me, as did pupil progress.
    I have heard from a former colleague that inspectors can't give higher than an RI if they give 'inadequate' in one or more areas. Is this true? It just seems very strange to me that a lovely, polite and hard working student cohort can be given the same behaviour rating as my previous school where being told to 'eff off' is a daily occurrence. Can anyone help?
  2. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    Serious weaknesses means that the school has been given 'inadequate' overall, but the leadership and management grade is not 'inadequate'. If the leadership and management is also graded 'inadequate', then it's special measures.

    It is possible for any combination of grades to be given. However, as you say, it is fairly rare to see 'good' or better sub-grades where the overall grade is inadequate. Whether this is a genuine reflection of the school or just Ofsted trying to look coherent is a matter for debate...

    As for behaviour, it's important to remember that this is actually part of 'personal development, behaviour and welfare'. Within this, there are two sub-headings: 'personal development and welfare' and 'behaviour'. A grade for each is given in the text of the report and then the lowest is reported as the overall 'personal development, behaviour and welfare' grade. Therefore, it might be worth checking the report to see if perhaps the reason for the 'requires improvement' grade is the personal development and welfare, rather than behaviour. Any safeguarding issues could cause this.
  3. secretteacher2357

    secretteacher2357 Occasional commenter

    This makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
  4. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    To update this, I gather that now the distinction between ‘serious weaknesses’ and special measures for ‘inadequate’ schools is not directly related to the leadership and management grade. Instead, a holistic decision is made by the lead inspector.

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