MORE than two in five secondary schools in Bradford are falling behind the required standard, the education watchdog says.

Of the 33 schools inspected in the area, Ofsted rates four as inadequate, its lowest mark, while 10 require improvement, as of September 30.

Schools requiring improvement will be inspected again within 30 months, while those rated inadequate now face mandatory conversion into academies, funded directly by central government.

In Bradford, there are 212 schools registered with Ofsted including primaries, 14 of which are rated inadequate while 37 require improvement – meaning 24 per cent overall are below standard. This is above the 19 per cent average for Yorkshire and Humber.

Across England, 20% of all schools were classed as outstanding, 66% good, 10% requires improvement and 4% inadequate.

But with more than 1,000 "outstanding" state schools going without an inspection in a decade, the National Education Union warned this did not accurately reflect the quality of education they offer.

Dr Mary Bousted, the union's joint general secretary, said: "The fact that some schools haven't been inspected for over 10 years demonstrates that the information Ofsted provides is misleading at best and may be downright wrong.

"This is yet another reason that Ofsted is past its sell-by date."

The Department for Education recently announced it will consult on plans to remove the exemption for outstanding schools, a move Ofsted says it welcomes.

"This is something that Ofsted has long argued for, so we're pleased the Government has made this announcement," said a spokeswoman for the regulator.

"Routine inspection assures both parents and schools that the quality of education on offer is of a good standard.

"In the interim, inspectors can and do go into outstanding rated schools if necessary.

"We have powers to inspect at any time if we have concerns about the standard of education, or if there is a safeguarding concern."

A DfE spokeswoman added: "This Government is committed to providing world-class education for all students and, where a school is judged as inadequate by Ofsted, the Department will not hesitate to step in and ensure that swift improvements are made so that all children at the school can receive the education they deserve.

"The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed considerably in both primary and secondary schools since 2011.

"Teachers and school leaders are helping to drive up standards right across the country, with 85% of children now in good or outstanding schools compared to just 66% in 2010."