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Children's services 'adequate' label could go

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Ofsted could abolish its “adequate” rating for councils’ care services in a bid to raise standards, its chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.

Speaking at an education committee hearing on Wednesday, Sir Michael said he was considering making changes to the ratings Ofsted gives to councils after inspecting their children’s social care services.

The move would hit the 76 councils whose social care is currently rated ‘adequate’. This represents half of all top-tier councils, which are responsible for social care.

At the moment councils can be found ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘adequate’ or ‘inadequate’. The ‘adequate’ rating could be replaced by ‘requires improvement’.

Sir Michael said the move was inspired by a controversial decision last year to remove the ‘satisfactory’ label for schools and replace it with ‘requires improvement’.

That decision had encouraged schools to improve, he said, adding that it was not acceptable for a service to be coasting along at a level that was only just good enough.

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