The role and peformance of Ofsted - Education Committee Contents

7  Concluding remarks

136.  Whilst we do not go as far as some evidence which proposes the complete abolition of Ofsted and of formal inspection, we do agree with Baroness Perry when she said that Ofsted "needs some radical change and very radical reform."[204] The inspectorate as it is now has played a large role in the education and care of children and young people, as well as in adult, teacher and prison education, and we acknowledge the considerable good it has done in a variety of ways. However, we consider that Ofsted has simply grown too big to provide as effective a service as could be achieved otherwise.

137.  The split of Ofsted into two new Inspectorates of Education and Children's Care would, we believe, have a significant impact in a variety of ways. Firstly, it would raise confidence that the inspection of all settings is being carried out by inspectors with relevant training and experience. Secondly, it would raise the profile of the large part of Ofsted's remit—the non-schools aspects—which currently get much less public attention, and which many do not realise Ofsted inspects at all. Thirdly, it would enable different approaches to and mission statements for inspection to be developed - the current practice of inspecting all settings under similar arrangements does not sufficiently respect their differences. Finally, it would ease the recruitment and workloads of inspectors themselves, who have expressed concerns that they are not always expert in a setting they find themselves visiting.

138.  The other recommendations in this report are, we believe, similarly grounded in the evidence we have heard, and could make a similarly sustained impact on the quality and value of inspection. In particular, we would encourage Government to make appropriate use of the evidence base which inspection itself provides, and are concerned that this is not invariably the case. We believe that the appointment of Education and Children's Care Advisers to the Department for Education would go some way to redressing this.

139.  Evidence submitted to our inquiry has made it clear that inspection has an important role to play in the education and care of young people across England, and that the current inspection regime has made some very important contributions. However, the evidence also compels us to believe that now is the time for a fundamental shift in how inspection operates. We believe that a more proportionate, specialist, and focussed inspection system will play an even greater role in improving outcomes for children, young people and learners, and we hope that our recommendations provide a useful foundation on which to build that change.

204   Q 77 Back

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