Commenting on 'Stuck' Schools, a study from the Education Policy Institute and UCL Institute of Education, on the need for greater support for underperforming schools, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“This is an important report on ‘stuck’ schools. The researchers’ findings demolish the Government’s claim that joining a MAT will improve schools’ outcomes.  They found that there is no positive effect or negative effect for primary schools joining a MAT.  Ministers must recognise that a change of a school’s governance is not the magic solution they claim it to be.   

“Researchers note the ‘vicious cycle’ between low Ofsted grades and increased teacher and pupil turnover.     

“It is not at all surprising that staff in ‘stuck’ schools have grave concerns about the fairness of Ofsted inspections - and in particular the ability of inspectors to recognise the work done in ‘stuck’ schools to support pupil progress.  It is extremely concerning that school staff’s impressions of the unfairness of Ofsted inspections are reinforced by data which shows that some ‘stuck’ schools actually achieved significantly higher rates of pupil progress than not stuck schools. Ofsted, it would appear, has some explaining to do.   

“The report makes a number of important conclusions. The most significant, as the Education Bill makes its way through the legislative process, is that Ministers review the impact of academisation on primary schools.  Obsessed by structures, ministers are in grave danger of ignoring the factors that really can improve ‘stuck’ schools - including training and retaining enough teachers, funding these schools properly for the extra challenges they face and radically reforming the Ofsted inspection cycle - so that its judgements are more reliable and fairer.”