LETTER:Independent view

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The Independent Online
From Mrs Averil Burgess

Sir: I write, as chairman of thebody responsible for inspecting most of the 1,350 independent schools in the Independent Schools Joint Council, concerning your article about Mike Douse's report evaluating inspections of private schools (31 January).

These inspections have been developed with advice from the Office for Standards in Education, and are based on Ofsted values and procedures. At our request, Ofsted is reviewing our inspection procedures, to assure ourselves and our customers that our system is comparable with that in maintained schools. None of this is characteristic of an interest in mutual back-slapping or concealing bad schools from parents.

Schools do not "organise their own inspections". They are organised independently by us at the behest of individual associations, and the school has no right to challenge the inspectors' findings. It is inconceivable that a school where classes are out of control or bullying rampant would ever get a clean bill of health from our inspectors.

All of us in ISJC are concerned to establish the quality of schools admitted into membership and to maintain standards through regular review. It is not in the interests of the sector as a whole that review is too soft and cosy; indeed, the associations with which we work are assiduous in following up any causes of concern that may be identified in a report.

Yours faithfully,

Averil Burgess


Accreditation,Review and

Consultancy Service

Independent Schools Joint


London, N6

31 January