Ofsted Annual Report 2018

Andrew Cook, Ofsted Regional Director for the North West

Hasn’t this year gone by in a flash? It’s hard to believe we’re already at the end of the Autumn term, and Christmas is almost upon us. For many of you, and for schools up and down the country, this will mean winter fayres, nativity plays, and lots of excitement and anticipation! Though I must admit to being fed up with the festive ‘classics’ on the radio already. Bah humbug.

Rather than winding down for the holidays, at Ofsted this time of year is always busy. Each December we publish our annual report, covering all of our inspections across schools, nurseries, children’s services and more. Indeed, you might have spotted our Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, on the news recently, talking about the findings.

The good news for many children who attend primary schools in the North West is that they go to a good or outstanding school. Of course, great schools don’t just happen. They need the hard work and dedication of school leaders and teachers all through the school year.

Schools that are getting it right have all the things you’d expect from a high performing school. It all starts with an excellent curriculum, with a full range of subjects and extra activities, like clubs. An exciting curriculum motivates children to learn. Add to the curriculum all the support and encouragement children need to grow in confidence, keep safe, and learn to value others, then you have a good mix making a good school.

All children deserve to go to a school that is good or better. Sadly, they don’t all get this chance. I am very aware that some parents in the North West struggle to find a good school close to home. Sometimes children end up in a school that is not good enough for the whole of their primary education. That’s not fair.

If your child attends a school that isn’t doing as well as it should be, I want to reassure you that Ofsted is on the case. Our inspectors will be keeping a close eye on schools that are struggling to improve. When we inspect them, we will be making it very clear what needs to happen to make sure that pupils get the kind of education they deserve. Above all, we know that big improvements can and do happen, as we have seen in many schools across the course of the year.

I hope that at the end of another busy term you get chance to say thank you to your child’s teacher. Having been a teacher myself, I know how demanding the job is when it is done well. A thank you from the children in my class, or their parents or carers, made a big difference.

May I wish you all the best for the school holidays. However you’re spending the festive period, I hope you and your family have a wonderful, relaxing, break.