Select Committee on Education and Skills Second Special Report




1.  We would welcome stringent external evaluation of the soundness of OFSTED's methods, but we are not persuaded that a Royal Commission on OFSTED is needed (paragraph 3).

2.  Mr Mike Tomlinson's term as HMCI has brought a welcome difference in tone to OFSTED (paragraph 4).

3.  We are concerned that teachers find OFSTED inspections to be overly stressful. We urge headteachers and governing bodies to keep a sense of proportion when preparing for inspection, in order to avoid creating unnecessary and additional stress for teachers. We endorse the Chief Inspector's advice that schemes of work, school policies and lesson plans should not need re­writing in advance of an inspection (paragraph 6).

4.  We welcome the involvement of practising teachers serving as members of OFSTED's inspection teams. This strengthens the inspection process, provides valuable professional development opportunities and helps spread good practice between schools (paragraph 7).

5.  We welcome the proposal to increase the attention given to pupils' views in the inspection process, which we expect to encourage the development of school councils to ensure that pupils' views are always taken fully into account (paragraph 10).

6.  We strongly support the inclusion of the local education authority among those invited to contribute before an inspection is undertaken (paragraph 11).

7.  We look forward to seeing OFSTED's analysis of bureaucracy in future Annual Reports from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools (paragraph 12).

8.  We would welcome a clear plan of action to be agreed between OFSTED and local education authorities on how to prevent schools with serious weaknesses from falling into the category of schools requiring special measures (paragraph 14).

9.  It remains our concern that smoking causes cancer and heart disease. There is powerful evidence that exposure to second­hand tobacco smoke is also harmful (paragraph 19).

10.  While we accept that adults should decide for themselves whether or not to smoke, we would support a co­ordinated approach to reducing the harm done to children by tobacco smoke. We regret that the National Standards for childminders do not match the Standards applicable to other childcare settings in banning smoking in front of children (paragraph 19).

11.  We recommend that OFSTED should include in each inspection of a childminder setting (i) discussion of the attitude of the child's parents or guardians to exposing the child to tobacco smoke and (ii) observation and assessment of the child's exposure to tobacco smoke in the childminder's presence (paragraph 20).

12.  We recommend that OFSTED should publish by December 2003 a study of the exposure of children and childminders to tobacco smoke, and any consequential advice to the Secretary of State on revising the National Standards (paragraph 20).

13.  We would expect good quality childcare to exclude the physical chastisement of small children. We recommend that OFSTED should report by December 2003 on the extent of the use of physical punishment by childminders (paragraph 22).

14.  We intend to hold a meeting with Mr David Bell in the near future (paragraph 27).

15.  We agree with our predecessors that there should be a debate in the House of Commons on OFSTED at least once a year (paragraph 28).

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