Get ahead of OFSTED: 5 signs to spot improving schools in your area

A nearby school rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED can do wonders for the price of your property. Even schools rated ‘good’ can be a selling point if you know how to identify signs that a school is on the way to an ‘outstanding’ rating. By taking note of these signs, you can reassure prospective buyers that your home is the ideal base from which to ensure their child receives the best from the local education system.

The first step is knowing which schools consider your property to be within their catchment area. If you're not sure where to start, the London Schools Atlas provides a useful overview of admissions rates by location. Local authority websites can also provide information on your specific borough and ward.

What’s happening at schools rated less than ‘outstanding’?

Even if the schools within your area were found to be lacking in their last report, all is not lost. Inspections are designed to lead to improvements. A little research can provide you with a snapshot of what may have happened since OFSTED left the building.

Five signs a school is on the up:

1. An introduction of a uniform is a potential sign that some improvements in standards are being implemented. It helps mark the change for students, as well as providing a message about tighter regulations and a move towards progress to the outside world.

2. Investment into school buildings and educational facilities is a potential sign of good things to come, showing positive growth. 

3. Changes in exam scores are useful – when interpreted correctly. While league tables can be a useful guide, schools providing for children with complex needs may have lower scores due to the wide range of educational abilities represented. Even a drop in exam scores can represent an improving school if changes incorporate provisions for special needs.

4. An increased web and social media presence, demonstrating sound strategic organisation and a solid grasp of the importance of technology in education.

5. A rise in visible community presence, showing increased emphasis on extracurricular learning. 

You can glean this information without the need for recent personal experience of a school; it can help you speak knowledgeably about current educational offerings in the local area beyond the last OFSTED rating. It's this type of lifestyle information that can make the difference in selling your home.