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Our Thoughts on the Chief Inspector of Ofsted Report

This week has seen the Chief Inspector of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, launch his second Annual Report to let us know how well schools and colleges are doing.  It gives us up to date information about how many schools are considered to be good and outstanding , and how many are needing to improve or not meeting the standards the government would like. It also tells us what he thinks are the main barriers to schools improving even more.

One of the positive things to come out of the report is that children and young people now have a better chance than ever of attending a good or outstanding school, and the further education and skills sector has “raised its game”.  Here at I CAN we welcome the news that nearly 8 in 10 schools in England are now good or better – the highest proportion since Ofsted was founded 20 years ago. This is good news for children and young people as many more youngsters are getting the opportunity to attend a school that is judged to be good or outstanding.

However, the news isn’t all good. Wilshaw also tells us that the quality of education that young people get still depends on where they live, and that white children who come from a low income family are falling behind other groups of children and not making the progress they should, more so than any other group of children. This comes as no surprise to I CAN as we know that between 40 and 50% of children growing up in social disadvantaged areas are starting school with delayed language and that recent evidence tells us that there is a definite link between good language skills and later achievement in school. So, if children are starting school with poor language, it is no surprise that they then struggle to learn. Wilshaw also expresses concern that in some areas teaching is weak, particularly in English and Maths. This reflects the findings of a recent survey of newly qualified teachers in primary schools, which found that less than half of them felt they were teaching language and literacy well, ensuring that good progress was being made.

So, what can be done to tackle these problems that the report is telling us about? At I CAN we believe that supporting children’s speech, language and communication is key to children’s learning. We give staff in early years settings and schools the tools and training to help all children at every stage of their learning from 0-19. This means professionals can better identify and support children who are struggling.  Crucially, Ofsted now evaluates how well pupils develop and apply their skills in communication and how well communication is taught. Our evidence-based programmes and training are designed to support Ofsted standards in communication, focusing on how settings and schools narrow the gap between the lowest and highest attainment.

So, whilst there is some good news from the Wilshaw report, here at I CAN our focus continues to be ensuring staff and practitioners in all settings are able to help all children, regardless of their background – so they achieve their potential.

Find out about our programmes and training which support schools to become high quality learning and communication environments leading to better outcomes for children and young people.