Thousands of pupils in England are being failed by a hard core of under-achieving schools which are struggling to recruit teachers and retain headteachers, warns Ofsted.

In their annual report, Ofsted says there are 130 schools – 80 primaries and 50 secondary schools – that have not achieved ‘good’ status in any inspection carried out since 2005.

The watchdog’s chief, Amanda Spielman, says the ‘investment and attention’ of the schools have not improved.

The report reveals that 90% of primaries are now rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, along with 79% of secondary schools.

However, there are 500 schools for children aged between four and 11, and 200 for those older than 11, that have required improvements in their last two inspections.

‘Enormous amount of help has been pointed at the schools’

Ms Spielman said: “An enormous amount of help has been pointed at the schools but somehow doesn’t seem to be hitting the spot; it is not necessarily getting through to change what is happening in the workplace.”

The report highlights that for those schools that haven’t been rated as good since 2005 are sharing similar characteristics including poor staff recruitment and retention and also unstable leadership.

Also, they have a high proportion of white British pupils with a low income background and children who have special educational needs.

Ofsted also says it’s worried about the rising number of conservative Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith schools that are also failing to be rated as good.

They say that some school premises are squalid and some are unsafe and in some cases children are being educated in unregistered and illegal settings.

Schools problems in teacher recruitment and retention

However, the leader of the headteacher’s union, ASCL, Geoff Barton, said that Ofsted could be part of many schools having problems in teacher recruitment and retention.

He explained: “It might be that the high-stakes accountability system is at least in itself partially responsible for trapping a school in a cycle that is very difficult to escape from.”

He added that schools stigmatised by an Ofsted report often found that recruiting staff and also pupils became difficult and they then entered a ‘cycle of underperformance’.

The issues, he added, are also compounded by a ‘crisis in teacher recruitment and retention’ and the underfunding of schools.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We are targeting areas in need of the most support and investing £280 million over two years to help target resources at schools that are most in need to improve their school performance and delivering more good school places.”