These are the schools which have achieved the goal that all headteachers strive towards – outstanding status. It’s an exclusive club of only 16 members across Sandwell.
Schools are visited every few years by an Ofsted inspector who will judge them on several key aspects including quality of leadership, teaching and welfare of children. This expert will sit in on lessons and speak with teachers and pupils before reaching a conclusion on what they have witnessed.
Most of the outstanding schools in Sandwell are primaries, with two secondaries achieving top marks. Much has been made about the lack of investment over the years and the levels of deprivation in certain parts of the borough but, despite these challenges, there are a number of schools which are performing excellently.
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Sandwell has more outstanding schools than any other part of the Black Country. It’s a big deal for schools as their whole reputation effectively hangs on what is captured by the inspector on that particular day.
Following the inspections, schools are given one of four possible ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. Outstanding is the gold standard, the holy grail craved by all schools but rarely achieved. At the other end of the scale, inadequate means there are serious problems that Ofsted believes needs addressing.
The inspector will produce a lengthy report based on what they witnessed during their visit, what they liked and what they didn’t. Sometimes they will complete glowing reports after being blown away by what they have seen.
These schools, where the regulator basically believes there is no room for improvement, are rated as outstanding. It’s a rare accolade.
Most schools sit in the middle, rated either as good – which is still something to be proud of given how high Ofsted sets the bar for outstanding status – or requires improvement for the schools which experts believe could do better but are not so bad to warrant the stain of inadequate status.
And these ratings matter. Parents take them into consideration when choosing a school for their child. A rating of outstanding is likely to lead to a rush from mums and dads in the local area to try to get their child in.
These are schools currently rated outstanding in Sandwell, according to Ofsted.