Multiple barriers prevent children and learners from acquiring literacy skills – Ofsted

An Ofsted report looking at the barriers to good literacy shows that poor development of speaking and listening skills at an early age is holding children back from learning to read and write. The report, Removing barriers to literacy, also highlights the need for teachers to have high expectations, the importance of the systematic teaching of phonics, and how the clear assessment of individual pupils’ progress and needs can drive improvement.

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School children limited by lack of opportunities to speak and listen to modern languages

Primary schools are making good progress in introducing languages to children, but there are significant barriers to good language learning in secondary schools, according to Modern languages – Achievement and challenge 2007-10. These obstacles include insufficient use of the chosen language in lessons and a drop in the numbers studying languages. The report recognises the significant efforts made to support languages – especially in primary schools – since Ofsted’s last languages report in 2008, highlights a number of weaknesses in the way secondary students are taught.

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Ofsted finds science improving in secondary schools

The quality of science education has improved over the past three years but there are areas that need further improvement, particularly in primary schools, Successful science reports. Ofsted’s report also highlights best practice and it is clear that the best science education has scientific enquiry and other aspects of ‘how science works’ at its heart. The findings are based on an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of science in 94 primary schools, 94 secondary schools, two special schools and 31 colleges visited between 2007 and 2010.

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The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2009/10

Most children in England get a good start in life. Over two thirds of providers in the early years and childcare sector are judged to be good or outstanding. There is strong provision, too, in the education and skills sectors. Children and young people are generally well supported by local services when they need them. However, the quality of teaching in schools and colleges is still too variable.

Ofsted’s Annual Report 2009/10, launched by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert, shows that teaching is still no better than satisfactory in half of secondary schools, 43% of primaries and 43% of colleges that were inspected this year. Ofsted’s data also shows that while a strong relationship remains between deprivation and weaker provision it is not a barrier to a school succeeding. Nine per cent of schools serving the most disadvantaged communities are outstanding, compared with the overall figure of 13%.

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Future arrangements for school self-evaluation forms

You may have seen the Secretary of State’s recent announcement, which confirmed that the school self-evaluation form (SEF) for maintained schools is to be withdrawn with effect from September 2011.

This will mean that the Ofsted school information and evaluation form for independent schools (SIEF) will also be withdrawn at the same time. Inspectors will continue to make full use of the SEF and SIEF during school inspections which take place during the present academic year.

We will consider carefully how inspectors will manage school inspections when the SEF has been withdrawn, as part of work to develop a new school inspection framework during the coming year.

We will be consulting on the development of the new framework during the next few weeks; this will provide an opportunity to explore the implications of conducting inspections without a common summative self-evaluation form. We will also explore the implications of conducting inspections without the SIEF with independent schools.

It will, of course, be important that both maintained and independent schools continue to review their performance.

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The new Ofsted brings together the wide experience of four inspectorates to make a greater difference for every child, and for all young people and adult learners, in England. Their educational, economic and social well-being will promote our success as a country.

Our Ofsted: who we are and what we do leaflet and two Raising standards, improving lives booklets explain what we do and how our work is helping to improve outcomes for children and learners. They are available in About us.

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Inspection reports search

Following the launch of the new inspection reports search in June, we have received feedback from users whose needs are not met by this new search facility. We apologise for this. A new Ofsted website is due in the next few months and we can reassure users that we will use this feedback when designing the new website’s inspection reports search.

We apologise for any inconvenience the current inspection reports search may cause.

Annual Report 2009/10

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The Report principally presents evidence from inspection and regulatory visits undertaken by Ofsted between September 2009 and August 2010.

Read the Annual Report 2009/10

Outstanding Providers 2009/10

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The list of providers judged to be outstanding following an inspection in 2009/10 is now live. You can view the new list on the link below.

The Outstanding Providers list

Safeguarding FAQs

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Our safeguarding FAQs are divided into three sections: schools and colleges; learning and skills providers; Cafcass service areas.

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Early Years: Leading to Excellence

Ofsted's latest report on early years and childcare focuses on leadership and management.

Early Years: Leading to Excellence site

Ofsted News

The latest issue of Ofsted News is January 2011

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