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Just A Little Something - Episode 3

Just a little something: Episode 3


This is a series which covers some of the things that some leaders of independent schools overlook, omit, misunderstand, or fail to address when it comes to meeting the all-important Independent School Standards. The episodes will not cover the standards in any sort of order and special requests are welcome so get in touch.


Before we begin: a bit of advice


And to borrow the DfE’s disclaimer from the above document what I share with you here: is not purported to be definitive guidance on the meaning of the standards themselves, only a court can give that.


Today we are looking at – The standards that most schools fail to meet.

According to Ofsted inspection statistics. The latest statistics which include details of compliance with the standards were published in November 2023. There has been another publication in February 2024 but that data only offers an overview of compliance by part and not by paragraph or sub-paragraph. As you know, hopefully because you have read the legislation or the DfE guidance or the inspection handbook for independent schools – the standards are divided into 8 parts, 34 paragraphs and many, many, many sub-paragraphs which I have not bothered to count. The paragraphs are also referred to as standards.


So, which of the 8 parts do most schools find challenging? Which of the 34 paragraphs do most fail to meet? And within each of those paragraphs, which sub-paragraphs have the highest non-compliance figures?  


Speaking of sub-paragraphs, did you know that failure to meet the requirements of a sub-paragraph is recorded as failure to meet not only that sub-paragraph but also the rest of the stem right up to the main paragraph. For example – failure to meet sub-paraph 2(1)(b)(ii) is recorded as failure to meet:


·      2(1)(b)(ii)

·      2(1)(b)

·      2(1)



According to Ofsted statistics about the most recent inspections most schools fail to meet the standards in:



What it’s about

Part 8

Quality of leadership in and management of schools

Part 1

Quality of education provided

Part 3

Welfare, health and safety of pupils



The statistics show that most schools fail to meet the following paragraphs/ standards:



What it’s about


The standard about the quality of leadership and management


The curriculum policy, plans and schemes of work


The matters for which the curriculum must provide


The teaching at the school


Safeguarding and welfare arrangements at the school


By Subparagraph



What it’s about


The proprietor ensures that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school fulfil their responsibilities effectively so that the independent school standards are met consistently


The proprietor ensures that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school demonstrate good skills and knowledge appropriate to their role so that the independent school standards are met consistently


The proprietor ensures that a written policy on the curriculum, supported by appropriate plans and schemes of work, which provides for the matters specified in sub-paragraph (2) is drawn up and implemented effectively; and…



The proprietor ensures that the teaching at the school enables pupils to acquire new knowledge and make good progress according to their ability so that they increase their understanding and develop their skills in the subjects taught;


The proprietor ensures that the teaching at the school shows a good understanding of the aptitudes, needs and prior attainments of the pupils, and ensures that these are taken into account in the planning of lessons



The written policy, plans and schemes of work-

take into account the ages, aptitudes and needs of all pupils, including those pupils with an EHC plan; and


The teaching at the school involves well planned lessons and effective teaching methods, activities and management of class time;


The proprietor ensures that arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the school; and…



What to do about this?



  •  Better yet, if you have the time and you really want to know - go to the source.

    • Download the statistics here: (Remember it is the one published in November 2023)

    • Go to tab D2 – “Most Recent Inspections”

    • Scroll right till you find the paragraph/subparagraph you are concerned about

    • Use the filter to get a list of schools that did not meet the standard

    • Scroll left till you get to the column with links to schools’ Ofsted pages

    • Read a few of those reports


I hope you have found this useful. If so, say so in the comments.

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