School improvement

What makes a school outstanding?

Every Secretary of State for Education will claim to be on a quest to answer this question. It was a major plank of work for Ofsted when Christine Gilbert was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector. But does anyone really know the answer? This page will seek to collect evidence based resources that address this question. Please send details of any other resources that you would like to share.

An outstanding judgement is only given when a school, having fulfilled all the criteria for a good judgement, has in addition demonstrated sustainable excellence in, for example: quality of teaching; pupil autonomy in learning; confident self-critical ongoing review of the school’s achievements and development needs by its leaders; and sophisticated and mutually profitable communications links between the school and the wider community it serves. It is possible for schools even in the most challenging socio-economic circumstances to be judged as outstanding.

CfBT: To the next level: good schools becoming outstanding


National College

John West-Burnham

CfBT Education trust

TES Connect

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