Ofsted should be split in two, say MPs

Schools watchdog Ofsted has become unwieldy and must be split in two, MPs warned today.

The inspectorate has grown "too big" as it has taken on more responsibility and is no longer able to operate as efficiently as smaller organisations could, according to a report by the Commons education select committee.



Ofsted now has responsibility for inspecting children's services, including areas such as social care and adoption agencies, as well as schools.



In a report on the role and responsibility of Ofsted, the cross-party group of MPs concludes that splitting the inspectorate in two would boost confidence in inspections.



It calls for the creation of an Inspectorate for Education and a separate Inspectorate for Children's Care.



"We believe that having a single children's inspectorate has not worked well enough to merit its continuation," the report says.



It adds: "Ofsted has grown too big to discharge its functions as efficiently as smaller, more focussed and specialist organisations might."



The report also warns that too few inspectors have recent and relevant experiences of the type of institutions they inspect.



The committee concludes that the two new inspectorates should remain independent of Government, but calls for ministers to create two new positions - Chief Education Officer and Chief Children's Care Officer - to work alongside them.



The report adds that the new Education Inspectorate should make looking at the progress made by every pupil of every ability a priority, and these results should be given as much weight by the Government as other measures, such as the number of pupils getting five good GCSEs.



Graham Stuart, chairman of the committee, said: "Ofsted's reach is vast and its remit has grown substantially since its inception, but this has come at the expense of providing a more specialised service.



"We need a radical shift in how inspection operates in this country, with a more proportionate, specialist and focussed approach.



"Ofsted has, of course, made a great impact on the quality of provision across the country, but the evidence clearly shows that smaller, more focussed organisations could do even more so."



Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said: "The question of 'who inspects?' is much less important than the quality of inspection and the impact it has on raising standards and improving people's lives. Ofsted is proud of the work it's done across the whole of its remit since it took on its present brief in 2007.



"Any proposal for further reorganisation needs to be very carefully considered and is ultimately a matter for the Government. There are issues about additional costs and a risk of distraction from the core business - namely continuing to deliver high quality, rigorous inspection which helps to drive up standards for children and learners everywhere."



Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: "Education and children's services have very different needs and priorities. Separating inspection of education and children's services into two divisions linked by good lines of communication is the right move and will help to ensure appropriate expertise in each area."





In response to the Education Select Committee's review into the role and importance of Ofsted, Barnardo's deputy chief executive Jane Stacey said, "Acknowledging development and looking at how far a child has come is crucial. The proposal for Ofsted to prioritise measuring pupil progress is one that complements Barnardo's ongoing commitment to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people.



"Barnardo's agrees that a structural re-design to clarify Ofsted's extensive remit would be a positive step forward. A rationalised Ofsted should continue to play a vital part in ensuring that accountability remains a leading priority within the education and children's care sectors, giving each the expert focus it deserves."



"However, Barnardo's will be looking for reassurance that any proposed division will not compromise multi-agency working and the shared responsibility of schools and other agencies for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.



"Inspectorates should be expected to work closely together to improve outcomes for children and dual-service settings such as nurseries and children's centres should not be left in limbo, unsure of whose watchful eye they fall under."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required for a 'Good@ school - Ofsted 2015

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: My client primary school loc...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most