Select Committee on Education and Employment Second Report


1.We expect to be following up our work on Early Years with regular scrutiny of the performance of the OFSTED Early Years Director as part of the accountability of OFSTED to Parliament (paragraph 3).
2.We consider that, in making this decision, the Chief Inspector laid himself open to the criticism that he did not consider the subject to be particularly important and thereby compromised his ability to object to any subsequent criticism made of the Office for which he had responsibility (paragraph 14).
3.OFSTED should have acted more swiftly to bring their concerns to the attention of the Commission for Racial Equality and we are concerned that it took so long for them to respond to the Commission for Racial Equality's approach. The Commission for Racial Equality should have shown greater willingness to engage with those concerns before publication. We regret that neither did so (paragraph 15).
4.We expect OFSTED inspection reports to include adverse comment on schools which fail to collect basic information needed to address race equality issues (paragraph 16).
5.We recommend that OFSTED should put in place procedures to check carefully its public comments on contentious matters to ensure that they are not ambiguous (paragraph 22).
6.There is a serious debate about the future of the A Level. We reiterate the view expressed in our Fourth Report of 1998-99 and we therefore recommend that "such public expression of views should be based firmly on clear and scientific evidence emerging from inspections undertaken by OFSTED's inspectors and other reputable sources"(paragraph 23).
7.We recognise the right of Durham County Council to raise their valid concerns with this Select Committee. We also recognise the need to keep a sense of proportion in pursuing complaints concerning alleged procedural irregularities made by a publicly-funded local education authority against a publicly-funded non-Ministerial Government department (paragraph 37).
8.We recommend that the Government should study the underlying reasons given in the OFSTED report and should ensure that all children are given every opportunity to learn to swim before they leave primary school (paragraph 39).
9.We recommend that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools should be made accountable to a Board (paragraph 45).
10.We intend to hold a Confirmation Hearing on the appointment proposed by Government at any time of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools (paragraph 46).
11.We intend to press for a debate on the work of OFSTED to enable the whole House to consider the future conduct of this non-Ministerial Government Department, which has such a key role to play in encouraging the raising of standards in the education provided to the children of this country (paragraph 47).

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