How much attention do you pay to Ofsted reports when choosing your children's schools? If your answer is 'a lot', comments made by the Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday might surprise you.
Gove claims that more than half of secondary schools and nearly one in four primary schools who are officially rated 'outstanding' do not deserve the status.
He says that 410 schools had an 'outstanding' accolade, when the quality of the teaching was not.
'It is a worry to me that so many schools that are still judged as "outstanding" overall when they have not achieved an outstanding "teaching and learning", he told the National College's Teaching Schools conference in Nottingham. 'I intend to ask the new Chief Inspector to look at this issue and report back to me with recommendations.'
Ofsted inspectors base their reports on 18 factors, and only one of them refers to 'quality of teaching and learning'. Instead, schools are judged on 'the extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles', 'the extent to which pupils feel safe', and 'the effectiveness with which school promotes equal opportunity and tackles discrimination'.
Gove has proposed an overhaul on inspections with assessments made in just four categories: teaching quality, grades, leadership, and behaviour and safety.
Last year, 150 secondary schools were awarded an 'outstanding' inspection despite not scoring high marks for their teaching, whilst 260 primaries were given top marks even though inspectors rated their teaching was just 'satisfactory', or 'good'.
What do you think?
Have you always put your faith in Ofsted reports, or do you think they are not a fair or accurate reflection on schools?