Ofsted - Fight or Flight? How ‘stuck’ schools are overcoming isolation


Ofsted has recently released its evaluation report  with the aim of identifying “why some consistently weak schools are able to improve while others are not”.

It was found that there are no substantial differences in the reported contexts of the stuck and unstuck schools visited. All can be viewed as operating in very challenging circumstances, in which a mixture of geographical isolation, unstable pupil populations and poor parental motivation appear to be compounding the issues for children. The fact that some schools are delivering good education despite these challenges shows that it can be done. The report explores how.

There are currently 415 schools that fit Ofsted's working definition of a stuck school. At the end of August 2019, there were an estimated 210,000 pupils in these schools.

There are stuck schools in all phases of education. However, it is a greater issue for secondary and junior schools than it is for primary. The figures show that these phases are over-represented in the list of stuck schools:

  • 46% (189) are primary schools (compared with 72% nationally)
  • 9% (37) are junior schools (compared with 5% nationally)
  • 44% (181) are secondary schools (compared with 15% nationally)

The contextual challenges that the stuck and unstuck schools visited claimed to operate in broadly fit into 3 categories:

  • poor parental motivation
  • geographical isolation
  • unstable pupil populations

Click here to read the full report from Ofsted.