School inspections were cancelled

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The Independent Online
More than 1,000 school inspections were cancelled in the last year despite a recruitment drive to increase the number of teams bidding to do the work.

Replying to parliamentary questions from David Blunkett, Labour's education spokesman, Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, admitted that one in six of the 6,400 inspections planned for last year did not go ahead. Emergency measures put in place to combat the problem have included recruiting headteachers on temporary contracts to supplement the inspection teams. Where no privatised team has bid for the work under a contracts system set up in 1992, members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of schools, aided by these "additional inspectors", fill the gaps, Mr Woodhead said. The average cost of an inspection in 1995-96 was pounds 18,700 for secondary schools and pounds 9,200 for primary schools. Fran Abrams