30/05/2003

Ofsted publishes guides for revised school inspections

The Office for Standards in Education, Ofsted, has published a series of guides for the new-style inspections scheduled to take place in UK schools in the next academic year.

The series of handbooks to accompany the new school inspection framework, ‘Inspecting Schools’, aims to provide guidance on inspection and to help schools in their self-evaluation.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, said: "The new inspection framework and handbooks will promote a rigorous and intelligent approach to inspection. The new handbooks strengthen the emphasis of inspection on leadership and management, which are vital to school improvement, and include extensive new benchmarks to help ensure the consistency and accuracy of judgements. School self-evaluation will play a stronger part in inspection and will help to shape the inspection of an individual school.

"By giving prominence to the characteristics of very effective schools and showing what to avoid, the new handbooks should be as indispensable to those who lead schools as those who evaluate them.

"The new arrangements for school inspection will also further reduce the burden of bureaucracy on schools."

The new framework 'Inspecting Schools' - also published on 30 May - supersedes a draft document published online in January this year.

The three new publications are: Handbook for Inspecting Nursery and Primary Schools; Handbook for Inspecting Secondary Schools; and Handbook for Inspecting Special Schools and Pupil Referral Units.

The new inspection arrangements come into effect from September 2003.

Ofsted is the non-ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 charged with the inspection of all schools in England.

Its role also includes the inspection of local education authorities (LEAs), teacher training institutions and youth work.

During 2001, Ofsted became responsible for inspecting all 16-19 education and for the regulation of early years childcare, including childminders.

(SP)

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