Data this week has revealed that schools in affluent areas are twice as likely to be rated ‘outstanding’ than those in the most deprived. Just 16 per cent of schools in the most deprived areas are ‘outstanding’, compared with 37% in the least deprived.

Ofsted grades of secondary schools with a large proportion of white British pupils, Source: Schools Week, 13th June 2018

Much of the focus of the media attention surrounding this has focused around pressurising Ofsted to demonstrate that schools are judged on performance rather than on pupils’ backgrounds. Looking at this from another angle, it clearly demonstrates that there is no equal and fair system when it comes to state schools in this country.

The phrase ‘postcode lottery’ has been frequently batted around, but is it really a lottery? Is it any surprise that the more affluent are attracted to live within catchment of an outstanding school? And have we inadvertently created an elitist state system?

And if that is the case, it leads me to ask what is the real cost of living near a high-quality state school versus that of an independent education? My guess is that it’s not that far away and in fact, independent education may be far more accessible than we realise!

We’re about to embark on our next national research piece – anyone interested in looking at this more closely? Email me at