SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS|
1. We look forward to OFSTED beginning its work
in the early years from September 2001 and to our next opportunity
to scrutinise progress in this area (paragraph 5).
2. We share the HMCI's concerns that much of
the progress made in recent years could be put at risk if the
problems of teacher recruitment and retention are not tackled
in a comprehensive and innovative way (paragraph 9).
3. We recommend that in its Annual Report for
2001-02 OFSTED should report specifically on the effects of teacher
shortage and subject mismatch (paragraph 10).
4. We welcome OFSTED's recognition of the part
that it can play in reducing the bureaucratic demands made on
schools. We recommend that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools
should report on the progress he has made in this area in his
Annual Report for 2000-01 (paragraph 11).
5. Whilst we recognise the progress made in raising
levels of achievement in literacy, we are still seriously concerned
at the apparent lack of achievement in writing, among boys in
particular. We recommend that research into both the reasons for
low levels of achievement and ways of tackling it should be a
high priority for the Government (paragraph 15).
6. We would expect our successor Committee in
the next Parliament to take a long hard look at what is added
to prisoners' education and skills while they are in prison (paragraph
7. ICT skills should be accorded the highest
priority, both for the development of individual skills and for
the competitive position of the nation. There is evidence that
there needs to be a comprehensive national strategy to tackle
ICT skills deficiencies at every stage of the educational system.
This would be a fruitful area for a future inquiry by the Select
Committee (paragraph 21).
8. We would expect the contribution made to raising
overall standards in secondary education by specialist schools
to be among the highest priorities for an inquiry by our successor
Committee in the new Parliament. We also see great merit in our
successors holding a focussed inquiry on how sport in schools
has fared since the introduction of the National Curriculum (paragraph
9. We welcome the decision to strengthen the
independence of the OFSTED Complaints Adjudicator. We also welcome
this further evidence that well-founded select committee recommendations
may in time come to be accepted even if the initial response by
the Government is not encouraging (paragraph 24).
10. We recommend that a debate on standards and
quality in education, based on of the HMCI's Annual Report, should
be held early in the next Session of Parliament (paragraph 26).
11. We would welcome further discussions with
the new Secretary of State on what contribution could be made
by the Select Committee to the process of confirming the appointment
of a new head for OFSTED, which is a unique non-Ministerial government
Department (paragraph 28).
12. We welcome this programme of work, and we
expect that our successors will continue as a Select Committee
to play their part in ensuring that OFSTED remains independent,
rigorous and fair in its reporting to Parliament and the wider
public on standards and quality in education (paragraph 30).