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
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
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: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there