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Platform7teen’s simple guide to Ofsted grading


Ofsted grading can sometimes be a little unclear. Here’s our quick and simple guide to Ofsted grading which we hope clarifies what grading means for different schools across the country.

Ofsted grades schools from 1 to 4 and each grade has a ‘judgement’ associated with it, in part to provide more clarity to each grade – so a Grade 1 school, for example, is judged to be ‘Outstanding’. Each Judgement is accompanied by an official description – further details of which appear below.

When Ofsted inspectors assess a school they base their judgements on five key measures – including one for ‘overall effectiveness’. The measures are:

  • Overall effectiveness
  • Achievement of pupils
  • Quality of teaching
  • Behaviour and safety of pupils
  • Leadership and management

A school’s judgement description is identified as the beginning of their inspection report. The inspection reports themselves include a raft of information such as:

  • how well a school is doing and how it could do better
  • how well pupils are doing from an education, overall well-being and personal development stand-point
  • parents and carers perception of the school
  • how state of repair and modernisation of the school buildings
  • how schools deal with problems or complaints
  • how rules and regulations are complied with

Broadly speaking, grades and judgements are defined as follows:

Grade 1 – Outstanding
Schools judged to be ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted are deemed to be highly effective in delivering outcomes that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or employment.

Grade 2 – Good
A school judged to be ‘Good’ by Ofsted is deemed to be effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment.

Grade 3 – Requires Improvement
Schools ‘Requiring Improvement’ are not deemed to be a good school, but equally they are not inadequate. Schools awarded this category will automatically be scheduled to receive a full inspection within another two years.

Grade 4 – Inadequate
A school will be classed as ‘Inadequate’ if it is deemed to have serious weaknesses, judged to be inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but its leadership and management are assessed to be Grade 3 or better. Grade 4 schools will be regularly monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

Where a school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated the ability to sufficiently the school, they will be classed as having ‘special measures’. Schools in this classification will be regularly monitored by Ofsted inspectors.