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Your Easy Digest of The Ofsted Annual Report

Your Easy Digest of the Ofsted Annual Report

The 2021/22 Ofsted Annual Report sought to share the insights gained by the organisation over the last year. As the report itself is a considerable read, we’re here to give you an overview and the key headlines.

Acknowledgement Of Covid

The report opens with an acknowledgement of the impact of Covid. Youngest learners have been affected the most and some have struggled to adapt to school routines and have entered schooling with a wide range of abilities. Along with this schools have reported challenging and disruptive behaviors as pupils adjust back into school life. Whilst attendance is improving

There has been an increase in the number of pupils diagnosed with Special Educational Needs with 1.5 million pupils identified with an increase of almost 77,000 in the year. It is important to note, the report states that pupils who require catch up due to Covid are not to be labeled as SEND pupils as this will burden an already stretched and challenged system.

Clearly the exemption from inspection policy for outstanding schools did not have the desired effect, with 80% of formally outstanding schools not retaining this status.

Addressing the role of further education, the report suggests that we may see more localised Curricular, suiting the needs of local economies. This is an issue addressed in the Times Education Commission Report also. Future inspections of colleges will have a focus on how they contribute to local needs.

Ofsted are in the process of revamping their SEND inspections and this will be of interest for the practitioner this will impact. There is a lack of staff in all sectors of the education workforce, from teachers to care workers to nursery staff. With colleges reporting this has resulted in larger class sizes and thus making differentiation a challenge. There has been reform to the initial teacher education and the NPQ framework provides a clear professional development pathway.

The report acknowledges the ‘uncertain’ economic outlook and informs us that this will impact the sector and how this in turn creates uncertainty for young people and learners.

Early Years 

Ofsted identifies the importance of good quality early years provision and states that 96% EYR providers were assessed as good or outstanding.

Ofsted returned to a full inspection program of early years after Covid, with a group of priory settings to inspect. These include settings which had been graded less than good in their last inspection, recently registered settings and settings overdue for inspection.  

Some EY settings struggle with coherent curriculum and implementing them, this linked to issues in recruitment and inexperienced staff.


Half of pupils are now in a MAT and 88% of all state-funded schools were judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, a slight increase from 86% in 2021.

There is a concern that 64% of all schools have not have a graded inspection in the last 5 years with 14% in the last 10 academic years. The reasons for this were the pandemic, outstanding schools have not required inspection and schools transferring to academies do not require inspection. This will lead to increased inspections to follow.

The report questions the usefulness of ungraded inspections as these do not inform of the quality of education or other attributes of the setting. Whilst 2021/22 saw the resumption of normal inspection regimes from January 2022 onwards.

Many previously outstanding schools have lost this title, with lower standards quality of education, leadership and management being reported. In 2023 Ofsted will publish more detailed findings from inspections of schools which were previously exempt from inspection.

70% of the 800 inspected schools which had previously been judged RI had moved to good or outstanding. There were also a considerable number of schools who moved out of the inadequate category.

SEND Provision

The SEND sector continues to face ‘significant weakness’ with parents facing continued delays and difficulties in accessing support and services. There will be a new SEND inspection framework, and this will focus on local area partnerships. From May 2016 to March 2022 151 local areas were inspected, 55% of these were required to write a statement of action for improvement.

Teacher Development

Here, Ofsted sought to address the quality of initial teacher training, with 94% of age-phase partnerships judged good or outstanding at their last inspection. Challenges within ITE often come from strategic leadership and poor curriculum design for trainee teachers. There has been significant reform to ITE over the last two years. 

Ofsted are looking to oversee the quality of professional development programs – NPQ and ECF.


Further Education and Skills

There were 2,050 publicly funded FE and skills providers, with 82% receiving good or outstanding in their last inspection. Common themes from outstanding settings were that they had ambitious, challenging and varied curricular. Learners were motivated and had good relationships with their tutors, who offered useful feedback.

T levels and Skills Bootcamps were varied in their impact, and experienced difficulties in learner expectations, finding the right level of challenge for learners and differing quality of delivery.

Social Care

Children’s care services have improved in a challenging eco-system, most notably issues regarding recruitment. 81% of the 2,730 inspected children’s care homes were awarded good or outstanding.

Homes rated inadequate often did so due to staffing issues such changing roles and responsibilities and a general shortage of staff. Finding homes for people in care with high and complex needs continues to be a challenge.

Final Thoughts

A theme running throughout the whole report is that the workforce shortages are impacting all of the inspected settings. The quality of learning in schools is by and large improving after the disruption of the pandemic. However, according to the EPI, the attainment gap between the most disadvantaged pupils has increased due to the pandemic . Ofsted found the education sector is working hard to deliver a good catch-up offering.

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