Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations
from the Education and Employment Committee's Second Report, Session
2000-01, OFSTED Corporate Plan 2000 (HC 34)
1. We expect to be following up our work on Early
Years with regular scrutiny of the performance of the OFSTED Early
Years Director as part of the accountability of OFSTED to Parliament
2. We consider that, in making this decision,
the Chief Inspector laid himself open to the criticism that he
did not consider the subject to be particularly important and
thereby compromised his ability to object to any subsequent criticism
made of the Office for which he had responsibility (paragraph
3. OFSTED should have acted more swiftly to bring
their concerns to the attention of the Commission for Racial Equality
and we are concerned that it took so long for them to respond
to the Commission for Racial Equality's approach. The Commission
for Racial Equality should have shown greater willingness to engage
with those concerns before publication. We regret that neither
did so (paragraph 15).
4. We expect OFSTED inspection reports to include
adverse comment on schools which fail to collect basic information
needed to address race equality issues (paragraph 16).
5. We recommend that OFSTED should put in place
procedures to check carefully its public comments on contentious
matters to ensure that they are not ambiguous (paragraph 22).
6. There is a serious debate about the future
of the A Level. We reiterate the view expressed in our Fourth
Report of 1998-99 and we therefore recommend that "such public
expression of views should be based firmly on clear and scientific
evidence emerging from inspections undertaken by OFSTED's inspectors
and other reputable sources"(paragraph 23).
7. We recognise the right of Durham County Council
to raise their valid concerns with this Select Committee. We also
recognise the need to keep a sense of proportion in pursuing complaints
concerning alleged procedural irregularities made by a publicly-funded
local education authority against a publicly-funded non-Ministerial
Government department (paragraph 37).
8. We recommend that the Government should study
the underlying reasons given in the OFSTED report and should ensure
that all children are given every opportunity to learn to swim
before they leave primary school (paragraph 39).
9. We recommend that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector
of Schools should be made accountable to a Board (paragraph 45).
10. We intend to hold a Confirmation Hearing
on the appointment proposed by Government at any time of Her Majesty's
Chief Inspector of Schools (paragraph 46).
11. We intend to press for a debate on the work
of OFSTED to enable the whole House to consider the future conduct
of this non-Ministerial Government Department, which has such
a key role to play in encouraging the raising of standards in
the education provided to the children of this country (paragraph