Headlines: January 13th, 2004

The burden of inspection of local education authorities is to be significantly reduced. OFSTED, the central inspection body, will carry out shorter and sharper inspections and shift the emphasis to self-evaluation.The focus of inspection will continue to be on educational outcomes, but inspectors will select particular areas for inspection. Less time will be spent checking compliance against all criteria, so that more time can be spent on the key issues for the individual LEA. Inspections will move from an emphasis on ‘what’ the LEA is like to ‘why’ the LEA is like it is.

The new framework will reduce the burden of bureaucracy for local education authorities and allow more time to be spent on specific areas of concern for the individual LEA. The new inspection regime will encourage LEAs to assess how effectively they carry out their statutory functions and why. By challenging and refining LEAs’ self-evaluation, Ofsted will be able to help them build the capacity to improve their own performance.

Those LEAs with a high Comprehensive Performance Assessment score and a good overall inspection grade will attract substantially less time for inspection work on site than those with poorer scores and lower inspection grades.

As plans move forward for the integration of key children’s’ services under a Director of Childrens Service, Ofsted will discuss with other inspecting bodies how an integrated inspection framework might be developed.