Ofsted's methods adopted around the world

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The Independent Online

Chris Woodhead, the outspoken chief inspector of schools who has become a figure of loathing among teachers in Britain, is being lauded as a model for education systems from Asia to America.

Chris Woodhead, the outspoken chief inspector of schools who has become a figure of loathing among teachers in Britain, is being lauded as a model for education systems from Asia to America.

Delegations from countries around the globe have sought advice on how to improve schools from the Office for Standards in Education, schools inspectors said. Recent visitors included officials from China, Thailand, America and the Netherlands, said Mike Tomlinson, head of inspection at Ofsted.

The inspectors say demand is so great they could offer a full-blown international consultancy, but say there are no plans to create an "Ofsted PLC" to seel their services overseas.

Mr Tomlinson, who represented Ofsted at a joint Anglo-American conference on turing round failing schools last week, said interest in the English schools inspectorate was increasing.

He said: "There have already been delegations from the Netherlands, China and Thailand, and we have done some work with them on inspection.

"The Dutch in particular, were interested in how Ofsted maintains consistency in its judgements."

A delegation from the inspectorate also recently visited Boston, Massachusetts, to help to advise educationists on improving standards. Officials from Shanghai and Estonia also had talks with senior Ofsted inspectors. Thai officials "have translated almost all our material", Mr Tomlinson said.

He said: "We have the biggest and most widely used system in the world and many countries are taking bits out of our system and adapting them for their own use."

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