Further insight into the Ofsted-supplied data behind the public question recently asked about schools in Special Measures at the Executive Committee meeting may bring clarity.
The question pointed out that “approximately three quarters of schools that exited Special Measures last academic year did so with three or fewer monitoring visits” and went on to ask what the Isle of Wight council was doing to support Cowes Enterprise.
The Isle of Wight currently has four secondary schools with an Inadequate rating from Ofsted, with three of those (Cowes Enterprise College, Sandown Bay Academy and Carisbrooke College) in Special Measures.
How long do Special Measures usually last?
Cowes Enterprise College received their last Section 5 inspection from Ofsted in November 2012, the outcome of which found the school to be Inadequate and it was placed in Special Measures.
All those in Special Measures have had at least three monitoring visits since Ofsted’s full inspection.
Of interest, an article published by the BBC in February, reporting praise from Ofsted for fast exit from Special Measures for a Cornish school reported Ofsted as saying,
“The average time it took for a school to come out of special measures in 2013 was 16 months.”
Readers may be interested to know that Ofsted categories do not transfer to ‘new’ schools e.g. if a school becomes an academy (see sample letter embedded below), as Cowes Enteprise College plans to do in September.
A paper compiled by Hampshire’s Children’s Services (embedded below) reports (item 2.8) that in relation to secondary schools on the Isle of Wight,
“Three are in the process of negotiation to become sponsored academies and the Local Authority is involved in those discussions.”
An assumption can be made that the statement refers to Cowes Enterprise College, Carisbrooke College and Medina College.
How many monitoring visits?
So how many monitoring visits might a school receive once in Special Measures? According to further information received from Ofsted:
- A school may receive up to five monitoring inspections over the 24 months following the section 5 inspection that placed it in special measures.
- On the second and any subsequent monitoring inspection, the lead inspector will consider whether the school has made sufficient progress and no longer requires special measures. Where this is the case, the section 8 inspection will be deemed a section 5 inspection. All the judgements required by the evaluation schedule will be made and a full inspection report produced.
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Example: Of schools exiting special measures in 2012-13, 74% of them did so with three, or fewer, (‘Section 8’) monitoring visits prior to the inspection visit that was seemed to be a full (‘Section 5’) inspection removing them from Special Measures.
A Higher Analytical Officer from Ofsted said,
“It would not be fair to say that just because the school was removed from special measures after a third monitoring visit, that it was necessarily worse than another school that only had two visits.”
Whether the same is true for schools still in Special Measures after their fourth monitoring visit it not clear.
Further details of Ofsted guidance for schools coming out of Special Measures can be found in the official document below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version in a new window.