As key stage four exam season starts this week, new research has found that a positive Ofsted rating can have a negative impact on student attainment levels.
The study, carried out by four UK universities, suggests that parents with children in schools that received a better than expected rating are more likely to reduce help with homework and this can have a detrimental impact on GCSE results.
What’s more, children whose families received good news regarding their school’s performance early in the academic year performed significantly worse in their GCSE exams than those where good news was more recently revealed. These findings suggest that the reduced help by parents was a significant factor in lowering children’s exam performance.
The researchers looked at data on Ofsted inspections and schools’ GCSE performances from 2009-2014. They were able to compare attitudes and behaviours in parents and students and how this changed according to the timings and results of the Ofsted inspection.
“Our new research shows parent reactions to an Ofsted inspection are significant and meaningful,” said Professor Imran Rasul, from UCL and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
“They withdraw support for their children when they are happy the school is doing well. This might explain why research has found it hard to pinpoint the benefits of attending high-performing schools. More thought should be given to how information on school quality is given to parents, and how to prevent this from having an adverse impact on their children.”