The incoming chief inspector of schools at Ofsted is considering a move to reform the ratings system in a way that could lead to the Outstanding rank being reviewed.
Amanda Spielman, who takes over the top job at Ofsted next year, was questioned this week by a committee of MPs, who asked whether the Outstanding rating is distorting the market.
“I am quite uncomfortable about some of the effects I have seen it having in the system,” she replied.
Pressed on whether this meant she was thinking of scrapping the Outstanding rank, she answered: “It is something I would like to see fully discussed.”
Figures released on Monday show that 21% of schools in England are judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted. Those schools are less frequently re-inspected, which critics argue leads to less innovation.
Ofsted dilemma over the prevalence of Oustanding rankings contrasts starkly with the situation in adult social care, where just 0.5% of care services are ranked as Outstanding by CQC.
Care home operators feel more aggrieved that minor indiscretions are leaving them ranked among the two-third of services ranked as Good, and they are left with that grade for months or years after resolving the issue.
CQC has a new five year plan that aims to speed up re-inspections.