ASCL welcomes the Department for Education’s consultation on removing the exemption for mainstream schools judged outstanding by Ofsted. It is important to recognise, as the consultation document makes clear, that non-mainstream schools judged outstanding have not been exempt from inspection.
The change made in 2012 to take outstanding schools out of routine inspection was done with the intention of allowing inspection to focus on where it is most needed, and to reward schools which were seen to be delivering excellence. This principle is laudable, but it is clear that continuing the exemption has become untenable.
The assurance provided by inspection is relevant for all pupils, parents and stakeholders, including those in outstanding schools. Where schools have not been inspected for a long period of time, legitimate questions may be posed about the level of assurance provided. This is especially important in relation to safeguarding. Routine inspection provides parents and others with assurance that safeguarding is effective or, where it is not, that weaknesses have been identified by inspectors so that they can be addressed.
Full response to consultation