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The 14 previously ‘outstanding’ schools downgraded by Ofsted in Newcastle, Tyneside and Northumberland

These 14 schools in our area have been dowgranded from their previous Outstanding rating after going without inspection for many years.

Hundreds of previously “outstanding” English schools have been downgraded by Ofsted after their first inspection in many years - including several in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland.

Schools judged outstanding had been exempt from routine inspection, but this rule was lifted in 2020. Since then, Ofsted has inspected 371 of the schools, with more than 80% losing their outstanding status.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said: “Regular inspection gives parents confidence in the quality of their child’s school. Exempting outstanding schools deprived parents of up-to-date information. It also left a lot of schools without the constructive challenge that regular inspection provides.

“The exemption was a policy founded on the hope that high standards, once achieved, would never drop, and that freedom from inspection might drive them even higher. These outcomes show that removing a school from scrutiny does not make it better.”

In 2012, the Department for Education made outstanding primary and secondary schools exempt from routine inspection, in an attempt to remove the burden of inspection from highly performing state-funded schools. The exemption was scrapped in 2020. Of the 3,400 schools graded outstanding at that point, 43% had not had a graded inspection for at least 10 academic years, and a further 38% had gone between five and 10 academic years.

A Department for Education spokesman said the government had rapidly improved school standards, thanks to the tireless efforts of school leaders. The spokesman said 87% of England’s schools are rated as good or outstanding.

But a teachers’ union said the finding that inspection standards were often not maintained showed that the system needed to be overhauled.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "Far from demonstrating the value of Ofsted, this report shows that the inspectorate makes no material positive difference to schools. Schools must be accountable, but Ofsted is thoroughly discredited in the eyes of school leaders, staff and parents. Its findings are frequently unreliable and invalid.

"We need to see a root and branch review of the way schools are inspected. At the moment, Ofsted is driving good teachers away and making education worse.”

Below are the 14 schools in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland that have had their ratings changed.

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