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Volume 685: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the number of children being educated in sub-standard primary and secondary schools.[HL7760]

The effectiveness of a school is judged by Ofsted on a common grading scale. Grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory and grade 4 inadequate. Grade 4 inadequate is divided into two categories; schools requiring special measures and schools requiring significant improvement. In both categories a school would be judged not to be providing an acceptable standard of education. Placing a school in one or other category requires further consideration of whether the capacity for improvement is demonstrated by the school. If it is, a school may be judged to require significant improvement and if not the school may be placed in special measures.

Ofsted's most recent published information sets out the total number of schools in each category as of 31 August. Based on those figures we estimate that there are approximately 272,000 pupils attending inadequate primary and secondary schools in England, as set out in the table below.

Data as of 31 August 2006

Pupils attending schools in special measures (numbers of schools)

Pupils attending schools in other Ofsted categories of concern (numbers of schools)


35,000 (137)

77,000 (299)


51,000 (54)

109,000 (123)


86,000 (191)

186,000 (422)