Good news as pupils go back to school: spring term saw big rise in “good” Ofsted grades

Mick Castle. Picture: James Bass

Mick Castle. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Ofsted grades received by Norfolk schools showed a significant improvement during the last school term, an analysis carried out by the EDP has found.

The comparison of grades inspectors gave the county's state-funded schools – including primary, secondary, academy and maintained schools – over the last four terms showed a dramatic rise in the proportion judged to be 'good'.

A total of 35 full Ofsted reports were published during spring term this year, and 60pc of them gave a 'good' grade, which is the second-highest ranking and the minimum standard expected by the school inspectorate.

This compared to 37pc given the same grade in spring 2013, 41pc in summer 2013 and 44pc in autumn 2013.

• Click here to see our interactive map of Norfolk school Ofsted reports since January 2013

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The proportion of schools given the lower 'requires improvement' grade each term more than halved between spring 2013 and spring 2014, from 52pc to 23pc.

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Spring 2014 was also the first term for a year where more schools saw their Ofsted grades increase rather than decrease.

This spring, 34pc schools moved up at least one category following their inspection, while 29pc moved in the opposite direction.

Schools which have taken part in Norfolk County Council's Norfolk to Good and Great programme, which aims to improve schools classed as 'requires improvement', are responsible for more than half the schools which have boosted their ranking so far this academic year.

As reported last month, the council said 18 of the 20 schools in the programme which have been inspected so far have seen their judgment improve.

The council said the better Ofsted grades were the result of the council making greater use of its powers to challenge schools, better use of data and categorising all schools, and improved work with governing bodies.

Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for schools, said: 'I am very pleased to see the green shoots of recovery for Norfolk's schools but I know that there is still plenty of hard work to be done to continue to move in the right direction.

'These figures show that A Good School For Every Norfolk Learner is making positive steps and over 10,000 more Norfolk children now attend a good or outstanding school than at the outset of the strategy 15 months ago. We will be using this momentum to ensure that we continue to improve for the term ahead and beyond.

'We have been working in partnership with over 100 schools as part of Norfolk To Good and Great and a significant number of schools that required improvement have been successful in inspection.

'As the percentage of Norfolk schools judged by Ofsted as good or better increases we are delighted that over 80pc of these schools are now engaged in delivering or working towards providing support to other schools.'

The analysis also showed the proportion of schools given the top 'outstanding' grade remained fairly static in each of the four terms, standing at 4pc in spring 2013 and 6pc one year later.

Do you think that Norfolk's schools are on the right track? Email education correspondent Martin George at

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