'Outstanding' schools not inspected for a decade will now face visits
PUBLISHED: 11:12 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:12 10 January 2020
'Outstanding' schools in Norfolk will be visited in the next five years under government proposals to scrap their exemption from inspection.
The move follows concerns raised last year that hundreds of schools given the top rating have not been reassessed by Ofsted inspectors for years.
In November it was revealed three Norfolk schools that had achieved the top rating had not been inspected in a decade.
North Walsham Infant and Nursery School has not been inspected since it was judged to be outstanding in February 2007, while Woodside Primary and Nursery School in Hethersett has only had one short monitoring visit since it was given the top grade by inspectors in July 2008.
Wymondham College was judged to be outstanding in November 2007. While it has not had an educational inspection since then - bar a monitoring visit in March 2011 - it has been subject to further Ofsted inspections due to its boarding facilities, which have also returned the top rating.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said exemption means there is often not an up-to-date picture of school performance.
Ofsted and school leaders said they support the move, which was first announced by ministers in September last year.
Earlier this week the education watchdog released a report urging a new judgement-free approach for schools which have been stuck for many years on poor ratings.
It said the 410 'stuck' schools in isolated areas of England needed extra support, not to be inundated with unsuccessful improvement schemes.
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Mr Williamson said: "We know parents trust Ofsted - and with good reason. It serves a valuable purpose as the only organisation that gives a clear, accessible and impartial view on school and college performance.
"But it's also far more than that - it's a driver of improvement.
"Although we continue to trust our best schools and colleges to get on with the job of educating, without Ofsted standards they would go unchecked and the exemption meant there is often not an up-to- date picture."
Exemption from inspection for outstanding schools and colleges was first introduced in 2012. It will end this September.
Around 3,700 state schools and colleges in England will be affected by the change.
Figures have shown that, as of May 2018, there were nearly 300 schools which had not been assessed for more than a decade.
Schools that have gone the longest without an inspection are set to be prioritised for visits.