Derby City Council waits for decision on Ofsted probe into school standards
EDUCATION officials will have to wait until April to find out if Derby City Council will be targeted for an investigation into school standards.
Ahead of an inspection "swoop" on 10 city schools in January, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said Derby was being selected because it did not have enough "good or better" schools.
The implication was that councils found wanting could be investigated by Ofsted, which is currently consulting on proposals to inspect under-performing authorities.
As none of the city's schools was downgraded during the inspections – with four improving, three staying "good" or "outstanding" and the other three staying the same with "needing improvement" – it could be difficult to order an investigation.
But Sean Harford, Ofsted's interim regional director, said: "There is still much work to do in establishing a strategic vision for school improvement that will lead to sustained impact across the city."
The schools which were inspected were St Clare's School, which maintained its "outstanding" status, and Central Nursery School and Redwood Primary School, which kept their "good" rating".
Beaufort Community Primary, Roe Farm Primary, Portway Junior and St Mary's Catholic Primary all moved from "satisfactory" to "good".
Murray Park School, Dale Community Primary and Cavendish Close Junior School were told they still "need improvement to be good", a category which has replaced "satisfactory".
The schools were selected at random but were due to be visited by Ofsted before the end of the school year.
Carmel McKenna, head teacher of St Clare's School in Mickleover, said the inspection was six months early.
But she said: "We were more than ready and were delighted to be judged 'outstanding' again. Working in education for almost 30 years has taught me that all humans achieve far more by being encouraged, valued and appreciated. The motivation of teachers and teaching assistants is key to further progress and improvement in Derby.
Andrew Bunyan, Derby City Council's strategic director for children and young people, said: "The letter from Ofsted acknowledges our challenge through school improvement officers, strong support for governors and the use of performance data.
"We are committed to improving and now have a permanent team of senior school improvement officers for all schools."