Grammar schools were not penalised by inspectors who removed the “outstanding” status from hundreds of state schools in England last year, the head of Ofsted insisted.

Amanda Spielman defended the watchdog’s inspection programme after grammar school headteachers accused inspectors of being unfair and, in one case, wrongly assuming that pupils at a selective school “would do well whatever school they went to”.

Ofsted withdrew the “outstanding” status from 308 of the 370 outstanding schools it inspected last year, including 23 grammars.

Ms Spielman told MPs on the Commons education select committee that some headteachers were taking “incredibly personally things that I hope they can manage themselves not to take personally”.

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