Further supplementary memorandum from
OFSTED (OFS 21)
10 December 2001
In September, I wrote to you with our proposals
for changes to school inspection arrangements from 2003. Many
of you, along with your governors and your staff, have taken the
time during a very busy term to read our consultation paper and
let us know your views. One main purpose of this letter is to
We held 43 consultation seminars around the
country, and a further 17 meetings with national organisations
and interest groups. MORI has received some 8,500 written responses,
and is compiling a report for us. The information that we have
gathered is, and will be, very helpful to us in shaping the new
arrangements for inspection. Equally important for me has been
the positive and constructive tone of the responses.
One clear message is that the feedback which
inspectors offer to teachers is welcomed and valued. Teachers
want to be clear about the strengths and areas for improvement
which inspectors have observed during their lessons. As we develop
new arrangements, we shall work closely with contractors to ensure
that there is an important place for effective and constructive
feedback, and for the professional dialogue which supports it.
I shall announce decisions on all the consultation
issues in the new year. There is, however, one on which we can
act immediately. I am asking inspectors to stop providing profiles
of teaching grades to individual teachers from the start of next
term. This means that they will not be available to headteachers
either. You will continue to receive oral feedback on teaching
standards, and the grades will be summarised in the inspection
Profiles of grades have been a cause of concern
to many teachers. I judge that effective feedback is more likely
in a climate where grades are not shared, and that seems to be
the view emerging from consultation. We have never shared teaching
grades following short inspections, as not all teachers are visited.
Performance management and appraisal arrangements are now becoming
embedded in all schools and we do not want to confuse the picture
with grades produced for a different purpose.
I am also able to let you know that we are already
establishing four working groups, with membership drawn from outside
OFSTED, to take forward the development of new arrangements in
consultation with important stakeholders. One group will consider
pupils' and parents' interests; one will look at the new arrangements
as they affect special schools; one will focus on effective school
management, including self-evaluation; and one will be an inspectors'
group to draw on their views and practical experience.
The consultation paper mentions our commitment
to supporting effective school management, so that schools are
well placed to contribute to the inspection process, and build
on its outcomes. We have taken a number of steps this term. In
November we held a very successful national seminar on school
self-evaluation and school improvement, involving a group of 25
headteachers. As a result, an alternative version of the "Headteacher's
Statement" (Form S4) will be piloted in inspections from
January. We are also working jointly with the National College
for School Leadership to train headteachers in school improvement
and self-evaluation, helping them to develop inspection skills
as a basis for work within their own school. This training has
started as a pilot, involving 90 headteachers in the first instance.
will write to you again in the new year when I announce plans
to take forward the work on new inspection arrangements. I want
to maintain and build on the spirit of professional debate which
characterised the consultation process. Please accept my best
wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas, and pass on my greetings
to your staff, governors and pupils.
Mike Tomlinson, HMCI