Memorandum submitted by Professor Audrey
Osler, University of Leicester (OFS 03)
1. OFSTED has a Government-designed role
to monitor how schools address and prevent racism. This role is
outlined in annual action plans from the Home Office, developed
in response to the 1999 Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report.
2. In 1999 we were commissioned by the Commission
for Racial Equality to investigate the extent to which the OFSTED
school inspection framework and inspection reports addressed race
equality concerns. We found that OFSTED's role in addressing race
equality was not clearly recognised within the organisation or
within the wider educational community.
3. Following our report (Osler & Morrison,
2000) OFSTED introduced a short course (one day of personal preparation,
a second attending a course) for all contracted inspectors on
"Educational Inclusion". This training has a clear race
4. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act places
a new positive duty on public authorities to promote race equality.
From 31 May 2002 OFSTED and the schools and LEAs it inspects have
specific duties under the Act. Specifically, OFSTED is required
to publish a Race Equality Scheme indicating how it will fulfil
The school inspection framework and race equality
5. The school inspection framework which
is currently being piloted needs to be accompanied by guidelines
to inspectors to ensure that race equality issues are routinely
addressed in reports. In our 2000 report to the CRE we made the
recommendation that race equality issues are routinely covered
in the summary report which is sent our to parents.
This summary section is the one which is widely
read and which LEA advisors and inspectors act upon.
6. The "Education Inclusion" training
for inspectors needs to be followed up with further training to
ensure that all inspectors understand the importance of race quality
within their duties. Current training has served to raise levels
of awareness, but it is not yet evident that all inspectors understand
the processes of inspection as they relate to race equality. For
example, this dimension is given little attention in some predominately
white schools. Inspectors may check that schools are monitoring
attainment and exclusions by ethnicity. They do not routinely
report on how schools use the data they collect.
Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
7. The OFSTED Inspection Framework for the
Inspection of ITT which was published in June 2002, following
the implementation of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, does
not make explicit reference to the new positive duties of public
bodies or to race equality more generally. Our experience in researching
the School Inspection Framework suggests that unless explicit
reference is made to race equality requirements they are likely
to be overlooked.
8. The need for ITT providers to have clear
and explicit policies on race equality, together with a clear
implementation plan, is essential if we are to prepare new teachers
adequately and overcome existing inequalities in attainment between
ethnic groups. Recent research carried out on behalf of the DfES
(Tikly, et al, 2002) confirm that these inequalities persist
across the country. Student teachers from ethnic minorities remain
vulnerable to racial harassment in school placements. For this
reason it is critical that ITT providers have appropriate policies
and practices for addressing this.
Osler, A., & Morrison, M. (2000) Inspecting
Schools for Race Equality: OFSTED's strengths and weaknesses.
Stoke: Trentham Books, for the Commission for Racial Equality
Tikly, L. Osler, A. Hill, J., and Vincent, K.
(2002) Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant: Analysis of LEA Action
Plans, Report to the Department for Education and Skills,