Report explores reasons and solutions for schools stuck in “vicious cycle” of poor Ofsted grades

New research into ‘stuck’ schools, has found that a “vicious cycle” exists where poor Ofsted outcomes lead to increased teacher turnover, a more deprived pupil intake, and further adverse Ofsted findings.

The report, focusing on schools that have received poor Ofsted grades since 2005, was published this week by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) and UCL Institute of Education. It explores whether adverse Ofsted outcomes made future poor judgements more or less likely and considered possible interventions the break the cycle. In both primary and secondary schools, a change in headteacher was found to have a negative impact on the likelihood of improvement, while joining a multi academy trust (MAT) was found to have a positive effect on “stuck” secondary schools, and no impact on primaries.

The key takeaway is that there is no “silver bullet” to drive improvement, but there are factors which make improvement less likely which can be addressed. For example, protecting staff wellbeing can help to reduce turnover.