Scaling down inspecting good schools

24 Apr

On 21 March 2014, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools (HMCI), announced that he was proposing to see the number of Section 5 inspections for schools deemed to be “good” reduced. Addressing the conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in Birmingham, Sir Michael said that this would mean that Ofsted inspectors will visit these schools (60% of the total in the country) once every two years for one day.

“In my view, good schools no longer need to be subject to routine inspections in the way that they are now,” he stated. “Instead, they should have more frequent but light-touch visits every two or three years by an HMI, whose job it will be to engage in professional dialogue with senior staff. Only when inspectors see a steep decline in a good school or, conversely, great improvement, that a full inspection will be triggered.  Even if HMI does see some problems in a school, a full inspection may not be required as long as school leaders are tackling problems effectively and have the capacity to improve the school.”

In an interview, he told BBC’s Radio 4 (see here): “There is little point in school inspectors turning up once every four or five years to confirm what a good school already knows and what the data already says.  We would much rather use inspection resources – particularly HMI resources – in schools that require stronger intervention: in schools that are in special measures or that require improvement.”

He added that he was keen to ensure more inspectors were directly employed by Ofsted.  “Inspection, as far as I’m concerned, is just too important for Ofsted to simply have oversight of third party arrangements.”

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