Headlines: November 13th, 1998

Better-performing schools can be excused the homework of in-depth inspections from Ofsted.The Government’s school inspection unit has announced that a more focussed inspection regime in the future will allow concentration on schools which are ‘coasting’ or under-performing.

School Standards Minister Estelle Morris said: ‘Ofsted is now a clearly established part of the educational landscape in England and has a vital role in helping us to raise school standards.

‘A shorter, more focused approach for our best schools, consistent with the principle of intervention in inverse proportion to success will build on the programme of inspecting all schools in recent years. This will allow more resources to be directed towards inspections in underachieving schools where they are most needed.’

Ofsted has also announced that, in the future, it is to give less notice to schools of inspection. Ms Morris said this would lead to less stress for teachers and governors in the build-up, but also allow inspectors to see schools as they really were.

The new, short inspection will be piloted during 1999 prior to full implementation in January 2000. All schools will be inspected at intervals of no more than six years and weaker schools can expect to be inspected more frequently.

Copies of the Ofsted proposals are on the internet at www.ofsted.gov.uk