Education Bill

Memorandum submitted by the State Boarding School’s Association (E 77)


I am Hilary Moriarty, National Director of the State Boarding Schools’ Association.

This response is submitted on behalf of the State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA), which is a sub-set of the Boarding Schools’ Association.

The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) is a membership organisation representing the interests of 480 member schools, the majority of which are independent schools in membership of the five Heads’ Associations in the Independent Schools Council (ISC). BSA is affiliated to, but not a member of, ISC. 38 of our members are state boarding schools.

The BSA provides training for boarding staff, including university accredited courses, and has been supported in this work by the Department for Education. The Association has worked closely with Ofsted, as previously with the Commission for Social Care Inspections, to assist them in their inspection of boarding and to assist schools in preparing well for such inspection.

The State Boarding Schools’ Association is a group of 38 state schools with boarding. Parents of pupils at these schools do not pay for education, but pay for boarding. Their fees are therefore much lower than those in the independent sector. These schools are currently inspected by Ofsted for education and boarding welfare, boarding having been inspected until 2007 by the Commission for Social Care Inspections.


The State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA) congratulates its independent colleagues on the likelihood that boarding inspection will pass from Ofsted to independent inspectorates such as the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

The SBSA wishes to record its fears that their 38 member schools will then be left with an Ofsted inspectorate for boarding welfare which will lack inspectors with appropriate experience and expertise in boarding to make them an effective inspection force.

SBSA would like to see thorough quality assurance of Ofsted inspections of boarding welfare in its schools.

1. State boarding schools can understand that their colleagues in independent schools will welcome the passing of boarding welfare inspection from Ofsted to independent inspectorates such as the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Their fear is that with most of Ofsted’s business of inspecting boarding schools being passed to another body, state boarding schools will be left with an Ofsted inspectorate bereft of real expertise in boarding. In recent years there has been a preponderance of Ofsted inspectors with experience or expertise in the regime of care homes. Heads of state boarding schools are convinced that expertise in boarding is essential if an inspector is to be considered properly equipped for the vital role he plays in ensuring that children are safe in boarding schools.

2. When Ofsted took over boarding inspection in April 2007, they immediately axed the schools’ right to a Boarding Sector Professional Inspector (BSPI) on the team if they had more than 20 boarders. This particular ‘goal post’ was moved to make a Boarding Sector Additional Inspector (BSAI) as Ofsted termed them, available only if a school had more than 50 boarders. 12 of the 38 state boarding schools have fewer than 50 boarders.

3. The lack of a BSAI on the team seriously reduces the effectiveness and even credibility of the boarding inspection. State boarding schools will be envious of their colleagues in the independent schools which are now likely to have an inspection regime which is rooted in peer inspection and offers the presence of a boarding sector professional in every inspection team. If this will be the case for independent schools, may it not also be the case for state boarding schools? At the very least, such provision for schools with more than 20 boarders would be wise.

4. Because of problems with ISC in 2007, the majority of BSAIs deployed in Ofsted inspections have come from the state boarding schools. It will seem inequitable if these people are now included in independent teams but are reduced in number on Ofsted teams inspecting in the state sector. This response is submitted on behalf of the State Boarding Schools

5. While an Ofsted inspection of both education and boarding welfare ought to mean one inspection event for state boarding schools, this has not always been the case because of the difficulty of aligning separate inspection teams. It is to be hoped Ofsted’s performance will improve in this area.

6. SBSA notes that the new boarding inspections will be monitored and quality assured. SBSA hopes this will be the case for Ofsted inspections of boarding welfare in state boarding schools also.

7. There will be member schools in the SBSA who would like to see their boarding inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate on the basis that their teams are going to be boarding experts. Is there any possibility that schools might have a choice of inspectors for their boarding welfare? For many of the SBSA schools boarding expertise on the inspection team is more important than the convenience of having one inspection event.

8. In the last month, four state boarding schools have become academies and three academies are member schools about to start boarding in September 2011. Will a choice of inspectorate be one of the freedoms academies will enjoy?

March 2011