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Schools: Standards

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools have been placed in special measures since 1996; and how many of these have been in special measures for (a) less than one year, (b) more than one year, (c) more than two years, (d) more than three years, (e) more than four years, (f) more than five years and (g) more than six years. (150681)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 25 September 2007:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.

The numbers of schools placed in special measures from 1996-97 to 2005-06 are shown in the following table. The table also shows the length of time that schools made subject to special measures in each year remained in the category. The data are based on academic years.

Number of schools1 placed in, and removed from, special measures between 1996-97and 2005-062, and those that closed while in this category

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Total

Number of schools placed in special measures

214

291

194

230

137

129

160

213

103

164

1,835

Number of schools that had been in special measures for:

less than one year

2

2

4

2

2

3

5

2

10

32

more than one year

187

249

168

210

114

112

135

182

91

71

1,519

more than two years

93

109

72

91

47

40

40

52

11

555

more than three years

14

I8

12

24

4

5

5

82

more than four years

2

5

4

8

1

20

more than five years

1

2

1

4

more than six years

1

1

Number of schools that dosed while in special measures

27

40

24

16

21

15

22

26

7

16

214

Number of schools still in special measures

3

67

70

1 This figure includes nursery schools primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and pupil referral units. Of the total number of schools in the table, 54 have been in special measures more than once. 2 Details of the number of schools placed in special measures in 2006-07 will be published by Ofsted on 28 September 2007.

In 2005-06, a new inspection framework was introduced. Under the new arrangements, schools are inspected every three years rather than every six years, as was formerly the case. More schools are therefore inspected each year and the increase in the number of schools made subject to special measures in 2005-06 should be viewed in the light of this information.

Under the section 10 inspection framework, which was in operation before September 2005, schools in special measures were monitored on a termly basis by HMI until they were judged to be providing a satisfactory standard of education. At that stage, Ofsted removed them from the category and published an inspection report. Some remained in special measures for three years or, in a minority of cases, for even longer periods. Ofsted has no power to close such schools but informs the Department for Children, Schools and Families, as well as the relevant local authority, of the progress of all schools in special measures. Since September 2005, Ofsted has continued to monitor the progress of schools in special measures and has reinspected those which have been in the category for two years or more. A few schools have remained in special measures following these inspections.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the Library of both Houses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools in special measures in each reporting period since 2003 had come from serious weakness or requiring significant improvement categorisation; and if he will make a statement. (150683)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The following table shows the number and proportion of schools that have moved from the serious weaknesses and significant improvement categories to special measures. The significant improvement category was introduced on 1 September 2005 as part of the revised Ofsted inspection framework. No schools were newly placed into the serious weaknesses category after this date.

Academic year

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Number of schools placed in special measures from the serious weaknesses category

51

20

9

2

Number of schools removed from the serious weaknesses category (including closures)

215

142

167

106

Percentage of schools removed from the serious weaknesses category placed in special measures

23.0

14.0

5.0

2.0

Number of schools placed in special measures from the significant improvement category

n/a

n/a

n/a

9

Number of schools removed from the significant improvement category (including closures)

n/a

n/a

n/a

276

Percentage of schools removed from the significant improvement category placed in special measures

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.0

The number and proportion of schools moving from the serious weaknesses category to special measures has reduced considerably since 2003. Ofsted have reinspected the majority of schools that were placed in the significant improvement category during 2005-06 and over 90 per cent. have now been judged to be providing a satisfactory standard of education. The trends in the table suggest that local authorities are increasingly able to prevent such schools falling into more serious failure represented by special measures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which schools in special measures have been in such a category for over two years, broken down by date of special measures declaration. (150684)

The following table lists the schools that have been in special measures for more than two years. It also shows the schools’ unique reference number, the relevant local authority and the date of the inspection when the school was placed in special measures. The list reflects the position on 1 October 2007.

URN

School name

Local authority

Date of inspection

107228

Usher Street Primary School and Nursery

Bradford

10 July 20031

125272

Thomas Knyvet College (previously Ash Technology College)

Surrey

3 March 2005

107774

Birkdale High School

Kirklees

30 June 2005

117781

Berkeley Junior School

North Lincolnshire

7 July 2005

1 Re-inspected November 2005

These schools represent only 1.6 per cent. of the schools currently in special measures and 0.02 per cent. of all schools. On average schools are spending less time in this Ofsted category. For example, primary schools are now spending an average of 16 months in special measures compared to 23 months in 1997. The equivalent figures for secondary show a reduction from 28 to 22 months.

Building on this progress, the Department's reforms to tackle failing schools in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 demand radical action from the school and local authority with a clear expectation that schools are turned around rapidly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on the relationship between school standards and structural reforms; and if he will make a statement. (154757)

Raising standards in education and narrowing the attainment gap are key priorities for the Department. Structural reforms, whether through changes in schools governance, partnering schools with business, HE or FE stakeholders, or greater collaboration between schools, can have an important role to play in tackling those priorities. Please refer to my reply dated 16 July 2007 PQ 149939, which provides more details about the links between structural reforms and school standards.