OFSTED’s new view of satisfactory and what happened to very good?

For those of us who have been conducting OFSTED inspections since 1994, it came as little surprise when Evan Davies of the Today programme on R4 asked the new OFSTED Chief Inspector the killer question about his new plans. When asked if satisfactory is now unsatisfactory, why on earth was it satisfactory before? Instead of some sophisticated answer Wilshaw simply said, ‘I don’t know’. There you have it! Almost 20 years of inspections and they have no idea why the criteria keep changing. You might well have expected Wilshaw to talk about keeping expectations high. But it turns out that he had no confidence in the earlier systems. In my time I have inspected using a 7 level scale, a 5-level , variations of 4-level, all of which still begs the question, If a school improves from good to be almost outstanding why don’t we call it ‘very good’?

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