Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120
WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 2002
120. Has that been drawn up from good practice
that you have experienced as you have been inspecting? Finally,
will you be confident that that will be ongoing and not, as we
indicated earlier, something which is hurriedly done in preparation
for an OFSTED inspection, because this ultimately has to be self-evaluation,
week in, week out, to ensure the importance and value of it.
(Miss Passmore) It is based on work that we have already
done. We have a working group with head teachers, inspectors and
advisers drawing on what we know already. We are continually updating
that. We are working with the National College for School Leadership.
Head First is a new programme of training for heads of at least
two years' experience that we are involved with. We are making
use of everything that is available to us so that we have something
which schools will find useful. If OFSTED only visits a school
once every four to six years, it is crucial that the self-evaluation
goes on week in, week out and is of good and effective quality.
(Mr Tomlinson) We are working with the National College
on the development of a programme for heads of department and
school coordinators because in secondary schools there is a key
role to be played by the head of department in their capacity
to undertake evaluation of the work of their department. That
also helps to prepare them for what is going to be the next stage
of their career. What is also emerging from the data is that,
where you have a school that the inspection team judges has a
very effective monitoring and evaluation system and which can
take action, there is a strong association with a whole raft of
features of what we regard as a good school. It is attainment,
behaviour and so on. If we get that right and it operates effectively
in schools, we will be in a position to say that the great likelihood
is that they will also be effective schools in many other aspects
of their work.
Valerie Davey: How refreshing that is as compared
to being told that OFSTED could only provide a snapshot in time.
121. I think it was David Taylor who said that
the FE section was a bit thin. It is the first year. I found prison
education a little thin. On the one hand, I can hear a programme
on Radio 4 celebrating the quilt making teaching and performance
in Nottingham Jail at the same time as I suspect that there are
tensions of basic skills in prison is something lacking and would
equip prisoners to a life outside which is not a life of crime
more effectively. It did seem to me that there was not a lot of
substance yet in the prison education section of your report.
(Mr Tomlinson) I did draw attention in the commentary
to my concern about the literacy and numeracy issue. There is
a report done jointly with the Prisons Inspectorate which gives
much more detail and there has recently been undertaken an audit
by the Youth Justice Board of the levels of literacy and numeracy
amongst all young people in prison under the age of 18. It makes
for very depressing reading.
122. These are the most failed of the people
in our education system?
(Mr Tomlinson) Yes, they are.
Mr Pollard: Perhaps the Committee should look
123. I think we will look at that. Could you
give me a written report on the Tymms/Fitz-Gibbon analysis? We
do not have time for that today. It is a penetrating critique
of your methodology. I would like something on paper for the Committee
on that. I would also like a little expansion on where schools
are heading in terms of filling that gap in strategic planning.
This has been a good session. I hope we have asked the right questions.
You have certainly given us some interesting answers. We wish
you well in your next challenge and thanks to all of you for coming
before the Committee. We look forward to meeting your successor
shortly. (Mr Tomlinson) Can I personally say thank you
to you and Members of the Committee, both now and in the past,
that I have sat in front of. They are enjoyablea bit like
an OFSTED inspection but they nevertheless do have an element
of enjoyment. Thank you very much indeed.