Responding to the publication of the new draft OFSTED framework, Adoption UK’s CEO Sue Armstrong Brown said: ‘No school should be judged outstanding unless it’s outstanding for all children. Many schools with stellar exam results do a very bad job for their most vulnerable pupils. OFSTED’s new focus on the quality of education and personal development is really good news. It’s a recognition that academic attainment is a very partial measure of a school’s success. There should be just as much value placed on the work that the best schools do to support those who have experienced trauma or have special needs and might not be exam high flyers, as those who find learning easy.’ 

Adoption UK has the largest community of adopters in the UK, and education is members’ number 1 concern. Three quarters of adopted children have suffered significant abuse or neglect in their birth families. This can have a lifelong effect on their ability to learn.  They are 20 times more likely than their peers to be excluded from school1, and much more likely to leave with no qualifications2.

Sue Armstrong Brown said: ‘Right now, schools tell us they have little incentive to invest time and funds in supporting their most vulnerable students because of the obsession with academic results. OFSTED has a big job ahead, to reassure schools that they will be equally rewarded for their pupils’ academic results and for supporting their emotional and social needs, and to help teachers learn from those schools that are already finding the right balance.’


1. Adoption UK: Schools and Exclusions Report; 2017