Memorandum submitted by the Office for
Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted)
I was grateful for the opportunity to appear
before Members and give evidence last month. The Committee's scrutiny
is a key accountability mechanism for Ofsted, and I welcome the
chance to respond to questions and present our view.
During the proceedings, and as part of her questioning
on Warrington local authority, Helen Southworth asked (questions
108 and 125) for information on those authorities that had seen
a significant variation in judgements between their Annual Performance
Assessment (APA) and what she referred to as a "full inspection".
As I hope I made clear at the time, the APA
(which Ofsted no longer carries out) was essentially a data-driven
exercise, and we have since moved to an annual Children's Services
assessment based on the outcomes of the inspections across all
services and settings, including the unannounced inspections of
contact, assessment and referral services and the three yearly
rolling programme inspections of safeguarding and looked after
There are only two local authorities where there
has been a significant difference between assessments carried
out as a result of an annual performance assessment and in subsequent
full inspections of safeguarding. These are Haringey and
Warringtonboth of which dropped two grades from good to
inadequate as a result of a full inspection of safeguarding. This
was the case for Haringey in 2008 and Warrington in 2009.
In 2009 seven councils had their ratings limited
by one grade to adequate due to findings of unannounced safeguarding
inspection visits (Calderdale, Knowsley, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough,
Plymouth, Redbridge and Salford).
Also in 2009, three councils had their rating
limited by one grade to performs poorly due to findings from unannounced
inspections of safeguarding (Leeds, Rotherham, Birmingham) and
three had their rating limited to performs poorly due to findings
of the full inspections of safeguarding and looked after children
(Cornwall, Warrington, Haringey).
Christine Gilbert CBE
HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services