Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
CBE, JOHN GOLDUP
22 MARCH 2010
Q160 Chair: If you translate that
across to your business, I find that that is true is almost every
business where you are delivering a service. You're in the business
of inspection. How do we knowbecause we've spent a lot
of time; we've looked at the training of social workers; we've
now looked at the training of teachersthat the quality
of training of your inspectors is good enough?
Christine Gilbert: We evaluate
our training. We've begun to work with other countries. We were
in the Netherlands, recently, to work with people there, looking
at impact together. We assess ourselves, and we always assess
the impact of the inspection framework. We always ask the people
we are inspecting what they think of the inspection quality. So
there are a number of things that we do.
Q161 Chair: Yes, but you hire
in a lot of your inspectors from the private sector. How do you
know how they're training, and up-training, and continuous professional
development-ing their staff?
Christine Gilbert: Miriam will
say something about this, but we have, over the years, developed,
I think, a very good system of supporting training and quality
assuring those inspectors.
Miriam Rosen: We train our own
in-house inspectors, but then we also provide that training to
the inspection contractors. So they come along and are trained
by usthe trainers, that is.
Q162 Chair: And you are happy
with the quality, are you?
Miriam Rosen: Then they will go
out and train their own inspectors, so we have some assurance
there because of the training materials, which are developed by
us. But then, it's true that they will do the training of their
own inspectors, but we then look at the output of that, because
the outcomes of that are the quality of the inspection, and we
sign off every additional inspector. HMI sign them off before
they are allowed to inspect, and we also quality-assure the inspection
reports and take feedback from schools on the quality of the inspection.
So these are all methods of looking at the quality of the inspector
Q163 Chair: But when we looked
at school accountability, not only did we worry about the number
of qualified people who could work as school improvement partners;
we were also worried if we saw that an inspection was not led
by an HMI. Early in your evidence, chief inspector, you spoke
very warmly about HMI-led inspections in terms of social care.
What did you think of our recommendations that an inspection should
be led by an HMI?
Christine Gilbert: I think it
would be a pity if we lost some of the really very good additional
inspectors we have. The system that we have allows head teachers,
deputy heads and so on, to take part in inspections. I think it's
good for their professional development, but it's also good for
the teams, and I think as long as we've got systems that check
that what's going on is good enough, it's fine. We don't get criticism
about additional inspectors from the schools themselves. I'm not
saying that we don't get criticisms of some inspections, but we
don't necessarily get criticisms of additional inspectors in that
way. So apart from the cost of your recommendation, I think it
would be a pity to lose some of the very experienced people we've
got as additional inspectors.
Q164 Chair: I just want to cover
school report cards before we finish, but before we move to Annette,
who's been very patient, can I just push you on appeals to inspection?
It is particularly sensitive. In one of our reports we looked
at how it is quite difficult to recruit school governors. I know
of cases where in comes an Ofsted inspector and looks at things;
you understand the criteria you're going to be judged on. With
a school governors group, suddenly you say it's adequateonly
adequateand here are people giving their own time, working
hard, trying to lead the school, doing good things, they think.
Suddenly, with never much explanation of why, they have gone from
good to satisfactory. Can they appeal against that?
Christine Gilbert: You can complain
about the report, and you can specify what it is in the report
you don't think is accurate. What I would be concerned about in
the example that you've given is that the governors weren't clear
about why the judgment was being made; and one of the very positive
things that's come out of the new framework is the amount of debate
and engagement that is going on. People do seem to be much clearer
than they were about why judgments are being made about different
Q165 Chair: But school governors
are a special categorythat's why I'm pushing you on this.
They are volunteers; they give their time. To go from good to
satisfactory with no rationale often dispirits them to the extent
that they resign and you lose really good governors.
Christine Gilbert: I can see that,
but governors can and do add real value to what's going on in
a school. Those governors that work most effectively are those
who do support, but are also quite demanding and challenging of
what they are seeing and hearing about the school and so on. There
is a difference between adequate and good, adequate and outstanding,
or satisfactory and outstanding, and we need to be clear with
the governing body about why we're making that difference. The
new inspection framework does place more importance on the role
Q166 Annette Brooke: Chief Inspector,
I wonder if I could ask you about the article in The Times
today that suggests that nannies can be Ofsted-registered, but
that Ofsted is only carrying out a CRB check and not checking
other credentials? You weren't given a lot of space in The
Times for a rebuttal, so I wondered whether you would like
to explain to us exactly what the situation is.
Christine Gilbert: The situation
is that nannies feature in the voluntary part of the child care
register. We ask people going on the voluntary register to self-declare,
and we check that they have had an enhanced CRB check and that
they've got a health and safety qualification. They self-declare
whether they have a Level 2 NVQ qualification. That's essentially
it, and over timea year perhapswe would sample 10%,
including any in that group there might be complaints about.
Q167 Annette Brooke: Out of how
many is that in total that you are sampling each year?
Christine Gilbert: I don't know
the exact figure; I would need to check it and get back to you.
Q168 Annette Brooke: Surely it
is true that as a parent, if I was looking at nannies, I'd see
that as a seal of approvalOfsted-registered.
Christine Gilbert: We try to make
it really clear on the web and in the information that we give
to parents that this is very minimal. This is a voluntary register
and we do minimal checks. In the inspection visits to the 10%,
we don't even have right of access to the home as we would in
other situations. I have been told that nobody has yet refused
us access to inspect a nanny in the homewe're not having
to meet them in the local coffee shop for instancebut we
don't have right of access. It is a very different form of registration,
and we try to make that very clear.
Q169 Annette Brooke: Do you have
concerns about this?
Christine Gilbert: I do worry
that, because of the reason and example that you have given, people
will think that someone is Ofsted-registered. We've tried to make
what we are doing as clear as possibleit is enhanced CRB,
and a check for health and safety qualifications. It rests very
much on self-declaration. At the time we introduced this, I spoke
to a number of families about why they wanted it, and of course
it is related to working tax credit. People can get credits if
they are registered.
Q170 Annette Brooke: I was going
to ask, do nannies qualify for the child care entitlement for
three and four-year-olds who are Ofsted-registered?
Christine Gilbert: I don't know
if it's exactly the same. Again, I'd need to check that, but they
certainly qualify for the working tax credit.
Q171 Annette Brooke: Chief Inspector,
I wonder whether it is appropriate to ask you to reflect on whether
you feel that there needs to be some change in legislation, and
perhaps come back to us on this. You have identified some concerns.
Christine Gilbert: I think the
concerns were identified at the time that this was being introduced.
It was introduced before my time, but I think these concerns were
Q172 Chair: Is this is a failure
of Miriam's? Is this one of the things where she should have said,
"No, we're not going there"? You mentioned this earlier.
Miriam, was this down to you? You should have said, "No,
we can't cope with nannies."
Miriam Rosen: I have to say that
I wasn't actually concerned with child care.
Annette Brooke: I leave those questions
on the table.
Chair: Did you want to deal with the
Q173 Annette Brooke: Yes, I was
just going to do that. That is what I was supposed to be doing,
but having read the article in the newspaper on the train to London,
I wanted to ask some questions about it. When the Committee looked
at the school report card, we thought that interim assessments
would potentially be suitable for Ofsted inspections. I believe
that the reply was that much work needed to be done. Can you give
us any indication of what progress you're making with that work
and whether you have any preliminary conclusions for us today?
Christine Gilbert: The answer
would be the same. The hope is that we would be able to use what
is on the report card, rather than do separate, interim assessments,
not least because of the clarity that that would give parents.
But we're still working on that, and not in great detail at the
moment. There are pilots of the school report card. I don't know
how they are going and I don't think we've really moved on much
on this one from the last time I appeared before the Committee.
Q174 Annette Brooke: So you don't
have a time frame for this?
Christine Gilbert: I don't know
the time frame for the pilots. I can check that after the meeting
and get back to you to let you know what it is. I am sure that
there are people sitting behind me who would be able to answer,
but I will let you know afterwards.
Q175 Chair: Chief inspector, one
last question from me. When we looked at the training of teachers,
continuing professional development was very important. We've
come out with some worrying evidence that CPD is being hampered
by the notion of "rarely cover", which is being interpreted
in some schools as "never cover". We're hearing, for
example, from wonderful places such as the York centre for science
and the nine regional science centres that they are seeing a big
decline in the number of teachers going to their excellent facilities,
because of this interpretation of "rarely cover". Are
you concerned about this?
Christine Gilbert: I visit schools,
if not every week, certainly every fortnight, and most of the
schools I visit have found a system that suits the school, but
which would not stop the sorts of visits that you're suggesting.
We've just published a study on CPD. Some of it may have been
undertaken before these provisions were in place, but they had
not prevented CPD going from on in schools.
Q176 Chair: But there is evidence.
There has been a 25% decline in the number of people going to
the science centre in York, and that is without what we are picking
up from school visits. It is a concern if CPD is being undermined,
Christine Gilbert: I think anything
that undermines CPD is a concern. My worry with the funding that
is before us over the next few years is that CPD will suffer.
A school that isn't investing in CPD is not investing in its own
development and in its approach to teaching and learning. CPD
is absolutely central to the development of good schools.
Q177 Chair: Perhaps we can relate
"rarely cover" to the value of out-of-school learning,
which is something I know you passionately believe inyou
did an extremely good report on it just after our report, and
you'll know that we are doing an update, which we're putting out
later this week. What we'll be saying in our report is that some
of the organisational expectations that you and we had about there
being a better focus on the importance of out-of-school learning
are not being met. That is partly about resources, but it is also
about "rarely cover". Again, teachers are unable to
get cover so that they can take a party of children out into the
countryside, to a theatre or to a science museum. Does that concern
Christine Gilbert: You'll know
that we sometimes do something called rapid-response reports,
where we look at an issue and see what is happening on the ground.
With this one, I'm not quite sure whether it is a case of finding
out what is happening on the groundwhich we could only
produce a small snapshot of if we were doing a rapid responseor
whether there are ways of describing what some schools are doing
that allows them to have a focus on out-of-school learning, visits
and so on, as well as on a thriving internal CPD programme, which
is also absolutely fundamental to a school's development.
Q178 Chair: Yes, but we were not
very impressed by one of the union representatives a couple of
weeks ago, who basically suggested that out-of-school learning
could be done in the playground in Birmingham. That wasn't quite
what we imagined when we wrote our report, was it, or when you
Christine Gilbert: But that wasn't
what was captured on the Ofsted report on this area, either.
Q179 Chair: You have seen the
Natural England report, which says that in a generation the likelihood
of a child visiting any green space has halved, haven't you?
Christine Gilbert: We could take
this away and have a look at it in our survey programme if that
would be helpful.
5 See Ev 36 Back