UK school inspection system needs 'root and branch' overhaul, insists chief inspector

 

Education Editor

A radical overhaul of the way Ofsted operates could see an end to privatised school inspections, it emerged today.

Chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said he wanted to see a "root and branch" review of the system under which the majority of inspections are handed out to one of three private companies.

He told the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference in Birmingham that school inspections were "too important" to be "simply" handed over to a third party to carry out.

His move followed criticism of inspection standards in a report by the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange earlier this week, in which it was said that inspectors might just as well "flip a coin" as rely on their judgements of lesson observations of teachers.

The report revealed the vast majority of inspectors were employed by one of the three companies - whereas only 300 were retained as HMIs [Her Majesty's inspectors] employed by Ofsted.

Sir Michael, rejected this criticism of standards, insisting that 91 per cent of schools had been satisfied with inspection standards, and confirming that he would be employing more HMIs centrally - mostly recruited from the ranks of those who had been serving recently as heads and teachers. He pleaded with his audience to come forward as volunteers to act as part-time inspectors whilst they were still serving on the job.

Sir Michael, whose proposed reforms were welcomed both by Education Secretary Michael Gove and headteachers' leaders present at the conference, also proposed a lighter inspection regime for those schools already labelled "good" or "outstanding".

In future, they would be inspected for one day every two or three years instead of facing a full, week-long inspection every five years. Only if there were evidence of "steep decline" or "rapid improvement" would they then face a longer inspection which could either fail them or lift good schools to outstanding.

Sir Michael told the conference that the current five-year period was "too long between inspections to spot decline [and] too long for improving schools to show they are outstanding".

The new system would free up inspectors to spend more time on those schools who were performing poorly.

Leaders of ASCL said the proposed reforms, which are expected to come into force in September 2015, were in line with suggestions they had made in a pamphlet about improving Ofsted and that they welcomed the increased flexibility they would bring to the system.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Assessor / Trainer

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Manager - London - £200 p/d.

£190 - £200 per day: Ashdown Group: Payroll & Finance Manager - Covent Garden,...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum