Which schools has Nick GIbb MP visited in his role as Minister for School Standards?
Freedom of Information
On 22nd November 2018, Paul Garvey made a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education (DfE). We were both keen to understand if all schools were being given a fair hearing.
Image credit: Policy Exchange
Our FOI request asked: “Dear Department for Education, Please advise of the number of visits to early years, primary, secondary state schools and colleges by Nick Gibb MP since 7th May 2015 (last election) to 22nd November 2018. We would like this data broken down by:
- Name of school
- Date of visit
- Type of school (including free school, grammar, studio etc)
- Ofsted grading.”
The Department for Education responded …
On Friday 4th January 2019, two months later (not 28 days), the DfE responded with the following information which we have analysed for you. “The data shows the number of school visits carried out by Nick Gibb MP to early years, primary, secondary state schools and colleges since 7th May 2015 to 22nd November 2018.”
This is equivalent to 3 years, 6 months and 15 days.
Since 7th May 2015, Nick Gibb has visited 110 schools throughout the 1,295 day period.
If we remove the 6-week summer holiday, two weeks at Easter/Christmas and also February and October half term, this equates to 37 weeks work per year. We also know MPs have longer holidays than teachers, but we have taken this broad figure in our calculations. This means Nick Gibb has visited 110 schools from a possible 1,036 days in position. If we also remove the weekends (364 days) from the possible ‘school weeks’ the Minister for School Standards could visit a school, this leaves 110 schools out of a possible 672 days (over a three and a half year period).
An average of 6.1 schools per school week. Not bad going when you compare it to the person in charge of education, Damian Hinds who has a 2.1 school visit ratio.
Let’s break down the demographics of Gibb’s visits.
Ofsted rating at the time of visit
- Number of Outstanding schools visited = 46 schools
- Number of Good schools visited = 45 schools
- Number of Requires Improvement schools visited = 6 schools (5 academies)
- Number of Inadequate schools visited = 1 school (academy)
- Number of Special Measures schools visited = 0 school
- Number of schools with no Ofsted rating visited = 12 schools
- Of the 12 schools with no Ofsted rating: 3 academies, 7 independent, 2 community schools
If you work in a ‘requires improvement’, an ‘inadequate’ school, you are less likely to see education royalty. It is clear that Gibb’s preference is to visit schools with an Ofsted rating good or better, and largely academies.
Types of school
- Number of academy schools visited = 70 schools
- Number of community schools visited = 11 schools
- Number of voluntary aided schools visited = 8 schools
- Number of other independent schools visited = 7 schools
- Number of free schools visited = 6 schools
- Number of free school 16-19 visited = 2 schools
- Number of voluntary controlled schools visited = 2 schools
- Number of foundation schools visited = 1 school
- Number of non-maintained special schools visited = 1 school
- Number of pupil referral units visited = 1 school
- Number of early years schools visited = 1 school
- By Region; London schools feature 38 times.
It is clear that the Minister for School Standards will visit far more academy schools than all other types of schools; this is concerning given the vast majority of English schools outwiegh the number academies. If only Gibb would visit more schools working in a challenging context with with an Ofsted noose around their necks – it may just lift the morale for some teachers working in the profession.
I have not analysed the regional areas. If you are interested in the data, you can download a copy.