Ofsted to make spot checks at schools with unruly pupils

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The Independent Online

Inspectors will make unannounced visits at schools where problems of pupil indiscipline have been identified.

The spot checks will be trialled by Ofsted from this autumn in schools with behaviour problems and a "satisfactory" rating.

In April, the Education Secretary Michael Gove said he had been told that some schools hid unruly pupils when they knew inspectors were coming. Schools are normally given two or three days' warning of inspections.

But heads were angered by the announcement, saying Ofsted was assuming that schools had something to hide. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "This pilot smacks of a culture which seeks to catch schools out, rather than make an informed judgment based on professional assessment. The suggestion that schools are somehow able to 'hide' badly behaved children from inspections with the current notice period of one or two days is ridiculous."

Miriam Rosen, Ofsted's acting Chief Inspector, said the inspections were necessary because of the damage that could be done to the education of other children by disruptive pupils.

"Where behaviour is poor, young people are being denied the quality of education they deserve.

"By testing out unannounced monitoring visits, we will see if there is even more we can do to help schools address behaviour problems," she said.

During the trial monitoring visits, the inspectors will assess a range of factors including how teachers promote good behaviour and how pupils treat each other.