2013 Ofsted grades for Norfolk schools and how they compare to previous inspections

Browick Road Infant School, Wymondham.

Browick Road Infant School, Wymondham.

The past six months have seen Norfolk education in the national spotlight. With the school year over, education correspondent Martin George looks back at the 2013 school Ofsted reports.

It would be hard to argue that the first half of 2013 has put schools and education in Norfolk in the best of lights.

The county has been in a national spotlight for much of the year, and much of the debate has been driven by Ofsted reports.

The inspectorate signalled its concern in March with a one-week blitz of 28 school inspections, and said afterwards it had 'considerable concern' about its findings, with just one school – St Martin's at Shouldham Primary – rated 'outstanding', and 36pc rated 'good'.

Ofsted last month targeted Norfolk County Council itself as one of the first two local authorities in the country to undergo a new-style inspection, examining the quality of its support for schools to raise standards. The verdict was 'ineffective'.

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But these reports represent just a fraction of the more than 100 full inspection reports on Norfolk schools published so far in 2013.

Reports on about a quarter of state-funded schools in county have been issued in the last seven months alone. What pattern emerges?

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Of those schools inspected, almost half – 45pc – received grade three, also known as 'requires improvement'.

Grade three was previously known as 'satisfactory', but last year Ofsted announced that judgement would be scrapped and replaced with 'requires improvement'.

Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said at the time the change was to tackle the number of schools that 'coast' in the category.

Only 7pc of the schools were put in the top 'outstanding' category, while 39pc were graded 'good'.

Nearly one in ten schools were put in the bottom category and branded 'inadequate'.

However, the data does show that slightly more schools improved than got worse, despite a tightening of the criteria to gain the 'outstanding' rating.

A total of 31pc of full inspection reports issued so far this year have seen schools move up at least one category, while 28pc fell.

However, 39pc of schools remained in the same category as their previous inspection. And of these, two thirds had failed to climb out of grade three, and, according to Ofsted, therefore require improvement.

Eleven schools, or their predecessor schools if they had become academies, went into the recent inspections rated 'outstanding'. Only three of them came out with the same grade.

That is the picture which emerges from those schools that have been inspected most recently.

Where does Norfolk stand when the grades of all its schools are considered?

The latest Ofsted statistics comparing different parts of England are dated May 31.

While they show the proportion of schools in Norfolk that are 'inadequate', at 4pc, is similar to the English average of 3pc, the biggest difference lies in the 'requires improvement' category.

According to Ofsted, 31pc of Norfolk's schools fell into this category, compared to a national average of 19pc.

Overall, more than one in three Norfolk schools were judged by inspectors to be neither 'good' nor 'outstanding', and that 35pc figure was, as of May 31, the fourth highest in the country.

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