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Providers that have made rapid improvement and no longer require monitoring

When inspectors identify serious shortcomings in the quality and consistency of teaching, and the effectiveness of leadership overall at the time of the core inspection, providers are placed in follow-up. For schools and PRUs, there are two statutory categories of follow-up (requiring special measures or in need of significant improvement). Other sectors have different arrangements, but all have levels of follow-up. Inspectors then monitor the improvements that the providers make over time. We continue to monitor a provider until the improvements are robust enough to have an impact on outcomes for learners, and leaders demonstrate an improved capacity to bring about further improvements. Twenty-seven providers met these criteria and were removed from follow-up in 2021-22.


Valuable lessons can be learned from providers that have been removed from follow-up. These include lessons about how to make rapid progress and what does and doesn’t work in terms of supporting improvement.


As a result of improved leadership and provision, learner outcomes are beginning to improve. Early signs include improvements in learners’ attitudes, attendance and progress in lessons and over time.

What improvements do we identify?

  • Attendance improves and exclusions decline.
  • Behaviour, engagement and learners’ attitudes to learning improve.
  • As classroom provision improves, so learners learn more and achieve better.

What improvements do we identify?

  • Improving providers have a shared understanding of what good practice looks like.
  • Often staff work together to devise non-negotiables that everyone subscribes to.
  • Leaders provide support, mentoring and professional learning that practitioners find helpful.
  • Leaders focus their monitoring to identify accurately what has improved (and its impact on learner outcomes) and what still requires attention.
  • The curriculum is designed carefully to meet the needs of individual learners and the local community.

What still needs to improve?

In a few instances, staff: ​

  • do not have high enough expectations of what their learners could achieve​
  • do not assess learners’ learning accurately enough to pinpoint and plan for their next steps​
  • struggle to accept that their own professional practice does not enable all learners to make the progress they should​

What improvements do we identify?

  • Leaders forge a sense of teamwork among their staff.
  • Leaders are selective in deciding what to prioritise, and recognise that embedding improvements takes time and that any new strategies must be tailored to the needs of the provider.
  • Leaders show resilience and tenacity, and have high expectations. They do not accept excuses or provision that isn’t good enough. 
  • Monitoring is sharper, improvement planning is agile and responsive and leaders hold all staff (including themselves) to account.
  • Leadership is devolved and senior leaders share responsibilities appropriately across the senior leadership team and beyond in order to build capacity. Click here to view resource.
  • Leaders have stronger working relationship with their local authority.
  • Effective support and challenge is provided by any overseeing boards such as the governing body, the EIB or the PRU management committee.
  • Leaders seek and act on the views of all stakeholders.

What still needs to improve?

Leaders often need support to:

  • use a breadth of evidence sharply enough to identify for themselves the right improvement priorities​
  • develop the role of middle leaders​

On occasions, the support and challenge offered by the regions, local authorities and governing bodies to support improvement in schools and PRUs are not robust enough​.