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Prohibit councils from creating new places at low-rated schools

Last updated: 09:12am 14 January 2019

We will prohibit councils from creating any new places in schools that have been rated either ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.50

Our verdict

School inspections are undertaken by the Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) under section 5 or section 8 of the Education Act 2005. After an inspection, Ofsted grades each school according to the following rankings:

  • Outstanding (Grade 1)
  • Good (Grade 2)
  • Requires Improvement (Grade 3)
  • Inadequate (Grade 4)

A school that “requires improvement” is one that Ofsted determines is “not good but overall provides an acceptable standard of education”. This generally leads to a period of monitoring ranging between 12 and 30 months, followed by a re-inspection.

Schools categorised as “inadequate” are “deemed to be in a formal category of concern”. They require “special measures” if they fail to give an acceptable standard of education, and if the persons in charge do not demonstrate the capacity to make necessary improvements. This decision is taken by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HCMI) under section 44 of the Education Act 2005.

“Inadequate” schools will be subject to an academy order (an order to convert from a maintained school into an academy), and in the case of already existing academies, their funding agreement can be terminated by the Secretary of State. Otherwise, they will be subject to monitoring by Ofsted.

Those are the measures currently in place for schools rated “inadequate” or “requires improvement”. Our verdict for this policy is ‘not started’, as they do not include prohibiting councils from creating new school places. To move this to ‘in progress’, we would need to see plans for a legal process to add such prohibition to the special measures for schools. We’ll be monitoring to see whether those plans appear. Follow this policy to stay informed.

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