Examination of Witnesses (Questions 440-442)|
CBE, VANESSA HOWLISON,
9 FEBRUARY 2009
Q440 Chairman: So you are very
positive about the school report card?
Christine Gilbert: I am positive
about it. It has the potential to give far greater clarity to
parents about the school's performance. There is quite a way to
go, and I will be interested in what people are saying through
the consultation, which I have not seen.
Q441 Chairman: Theoretically,
then, Vanessa, we could halve your budget and rely much more on
the school report card. That would be a wonderful way of saving
money, would it not?
Vanessa Howlison: Even as an accountant,
I would say that you still need inspection to get a full, rounded
view of provision.
Christine Gilbert: That is why
I keep stressing all the time with the report card that it comes
with inspection. However, it could help. One of the reasons why
we looked at it hard was that we thought that we would not need
to do our own risk assessments annually if there were an annual
report cardwe would use it. We still think that there may
be a way to reach that, but the report cards will not be introduced
until 2011, if they are introduced, and that is too far away for
us. We need to have something in place before then.
It is important that we do not confuse everybody
out there by going one way while the DCSF goes another way, so
we have been trying to work closely with the Department on this
Q442 Mr Stuart: A quick health
check on diplomas, which you mentioned, Melanie. Exam boards told
us that it was the most complicated qualification they had ever
come across, and there are logistical difficulties, not least
in rural areas such as the one that I represent. Are diplomas
on track? Are you confident and happy about them, or do you have
any warning notes to share with us today?
Melanie Hunt: As part of the survey
programme that I mentioned, last year's survey looked at local
authorities that had begun to establish partnerships and to engage
in planning. The results were actually quite positive. It appears
that all the right things were in place. However, this year will
be the true test, because, obviously, it is the first year that
learners have been enrolled and the programme is running. It really
is too early to say anything. There has been a variety of feedback
from the first few visits that have taken place. It is important
to bear in mind that the first partnerships that are going throughthose
that started in September 2008were the forerunners and
therefore perhaps the best. Many had a history and a track record
of working together, so they put together strong proposals that
enabled them to be part of the first wave. Clearly, it is important
that we all learn the lessons from the best going first so that
that they can feed out and inform those who follow.
Chairman: Chief Inspector, we have had
a good session with many varied questions and some positive answers.
I am afraid that we will be seeing you again soon because we will
be doing an inquiry into social work training imminently and another
into the training of teachers. It will not be long before you
are sitting in that seat again. Thank you for your attendance
today and for your full answers to questions.