REVEALED: Which of Suffolk's 'outstanding' schools have not been inspected by Ofsted in last six years
PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 May 2018
Almost half of Suffolk's schools rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted have not been inspected in the last six years - and six were last visited more than a decade ago.
Data published on the government’s compare school performance website revealed that 48 schools in the county had the ‘outstanding’ rating.
Of those, there were six that had not been inspected in 10 years or more, while a further 17 had not been formally assessed by the watchdog in the last six years.
Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham was last inspected in October 2006 – 11 years and seven months ago.
But Ofsted said legislation which makes ‘outstanding’ schools exempt from inspection meant there was little it could do.
“The majority of outstanding schools are exempt by law from inspection,” a spokeswoman said.
“However, where we have concerns, Ofsted does have the power to inspect any school at any time. Although exempt from routine inspection, outstanding schools continue to be risk assessed by Ofsted on an annual basis to help determine whether there are concerns and if an inspection may be required.”
Most of the schools had interim assessments in the intervening years, which use pupil attendance, results and number of concerns raised to determine whether another inspection is needed.
Ofsted confirmed that the legislation did not have a time limit, meaning that a school which gained an ‘outstanding’ rating and had no complaints may not be inspected for decades.
However, it has made it clear that is does not feel exemption is sustainable.
Thedwastre South councillor Penny Otton raised the issue at Thursday’s Suffolk County Council meeting, where education cabinet member Gordon Jones said he would speak to Ofsted.
“I will raise that with the head of Ofsted because I actually share those same concerns,” he said.
“I can assure you our education officers go into the schools and work with them, and we do monitor those schools.”
Jack Abbott, Labour’s education spokesman said: “A whole cohort of pupils will have gone through nearly half of our schools rated outstanding without a single Ofsted inspection – that is totally unacceptable.
“If Ofsted are unable to perform basic functions like consistent inspections to ensure that all pupils are receiving the best possible education, it would indicate that they are under-resourced and under-funded by the government.”
The news comes as a National Audit Office report this week revealed that 1,620 mostly ‘outstanding’ schools had not been inspected in the last six years, and 290 for a decade or more.
‘Outstanding’ Suffolk schools not inspected for a decade or more:
Bures Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – October 2007
Debenham High School – January 2008
Great Whelnetham Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – December 2007
Nacton Church of England Primary School – April 2008
St Mark’s Catholic Primary School, Ipswich – February 2008
Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham – October 2006
‘Outstanding’ Suffolk schools not inspected for six years or more:
All Saints Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School, Lawshall – December 2010
Barrow Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – October 2011
Boxford Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – April 2012
Brooklands Primary School – November 2008
Carlton Colville Primary School – November 2011
Great Barton Church of England Primary Academy - January 2009
Hintlesham and Chattisham Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – January 2009
Kedington Primary Academy – October 2011
Kersey Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – February 2012
Lavenham Community Primary School – March 2011
Norton Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – November 2011
Ravensmere Infant School – July 2010
Risby Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – January 2009
Sebert Wood Community Primary School – June 2009
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Ipswich – January 2012
Tattingstone Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School – June 2009
Wickhambrook Community Primary School – February 2012