Memorandum from the Standing Committee
for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT) (OFS 11)
Roy Beardsworth, the Academic Secretary of SCETT,
has passed to me your letter concerning the Education and Skills
Committee meeting with HM Chief Inspector, Mike Tomlinson. As
the current chair of SCETT, I have said that I will send a reply.
This note raises some general points about OFSTED, and also some
issues specific to the Teacher Education Division, which is the
specific concern of SCETT's work.
SCETT would like to see OFSTED work
making considerable improvements in public accountability and
in relation to the democratic process in the following ways:
periodic reviews (annual)
stakeholder satisfaction indices & stakeholder
reduction in bureaucracy targets
To this end, we urge the Select Committee
to call for a Royal Commission that will consider:
the extent to which judgments
are fair and accurate
the value for money represented
by OFSTED inspections.
The OFSTED role in relation to quality
assurance with providers of teacher education should be formative
and developmental rather than judgmental and largely summative:
it should place greater emphasis on helping to provide support
and encouragement to the improvement of quality in teacher education.
OFSTED should engage in an evaluation
and review of the inspection regime which links inspection grades
with funding and student numbers. Recognising that there is a
statutory requirement for a link between funding and quality,
we nevertheless argue that, apart from unsatisfactory provision,
there should NOT be a direct connexion between inspection findings
and student numbers. The present system has led, over the past
few years, to a destabilisation of teacher education, rather than
to an overall improvement in quality.
There should be a consideration of
ways of bringing the OFSTED approach to quality assurance, through
their inspection methodology, into harmony with the other quality
assurance mechanisms and approaches in Higher Education, and particularly
the work done by the QAA.