Ofsted review of Suffolk County Council’s plan to improve schools is delayed

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House - Credit: Archant

The annual Ofsted inspection of Suffolk County Council’s plan to improve schools has been delayed until after the General Election.

The review, which follows last year’s report which called the council’s plan “ineffective”, was expected to be published last month but is now postponed until after May 7. Sue Cook, corporate director for children and young people, has written to headteachers about the delay which she said was because of “quality” checks.

She said: “We have been informed by Ofsted that their quality assurance processes have caused a delay, and we received the draft inspection findings letter, for a factual accuracy check, two days before schools broke up for the Easter holidays.

“We have responded accordingly, and it is our expectation that the finalised letter will be formally published by Ofsted after the General Election in May.”

Ofsted said last year it was “concerned” that pupils in Suffolk’s primary and secondary schools were “performing well below” national averages.

Ms Cook said in her letter to headteachers that the council is “committed” to ensuring that every child attends an Ofsted-rated “good” or “outstanding” school.

According to Ofsted figures released this year 67 schools in Suffolk have a “requires improvement” grade and 16 are “inadequate”. In 2012 Ofsted changed the name of the third level rating from “satisfactory” to “requires improvement”.

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An Ofsted spokeswoman said it is the education watchdog’s policy not to publish such inspection reports in the run-up to a general election in order to maintain “impartiality”.

Ms Cook added: “I want to reaffirm the council’s commitment to see that every child attends a good or outstanding school, that every child gets the best possible preparation for life beyond school, and that vulnerable learners have their needs identified rapidly and met in a timely manner.

“We are pressing ahead with our service transformation plans and the priorities set out in the Raising the Bar school improvement strategy.

“We will be refining this strategy in coming months and it is my intention to ask school leaders again to comment on and contribute towards our ongoing development of the strategy in Suffolk.”