Select Committee on Education and Skills Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 1

Memorandum from Professor Michael Bassey AcSS (Emeritus Professor of Nottingham Trent University and Academic Secretary of the British Educational Research Association) (OFS 01)

  On 22 June The Times Educational Supplement carried an article by me headed: "Loosen the State Corset on Schools".

SUMMARY

  Raising the morale of all teachers is vital if the raising of standards and enhancement of education is to continue. This memorandum focuses on primary school teachers;

  The Chief Inspector's last annual report shows that primary schools have made very considerable improvements in all aspects inspected;

  In consequence, and in the context of school self-evaluation programmes, LEA monitoring, performance targets, key stage pupil assessments, and school development planning—it can be argued that the expense and the anguish of OFSTED inspection of primary schools is no longer justified;

  As the British Educational Research Association pointed out to the Sub-committee earlier this year, whereas OFSTED inspections have carefully monitored changes in schools there is a lack of research evidence that these inspections have causally contributed to the changes. Last year between £25-£30 million seems to have been spent on inspecting 3,771 primary schools: 169 were identified as requiring special measures;

  The termination of OFSTED inspections would give an enormous boost to morale among teachers—by demonstrating trust in their professionalism and competence. Local authority inspection is sufficient for identifying those few schools needing special measures of support;

QUESTION FOR THE CHIEF INSPECTOR

  Insofar as your last annual report shows that primary schools have made very considerable improvements in all aspects inspected; and in the context of school self-evaluation programmes, LEA monitoring, performance targets, key stage pupil assessments, and school development planning; and bearing in mind both the expense of inspection and the issue of teacher morale, do you agree that there is a case for ceasing OFSTED inspections in primary schools?

November 2001


 
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