William Eichler 07 September 2018

Ofsted ‘fig leaf’ for Whitehall failures on school standards

Ofsted ‘fig leaf’ for Whitehall failures on school standards    image

Ofsted is not providing the level of independent assurance about the quality of education that schools and parents need, MPs warn.

The Public Accounts Committee has criticised the performance of the organisation responsible for auditing schools, arguing it is ‘undermining’ the ability of families to make informed decisions about their children’s education.

The committee said Ofsted had completed fewer inspections than planned, failed to meet its targets for how often schools should be inspected, and was leaving schools for longer between inspections.

Ofsted’s budget has been cut significantly in recent years — a fact the PAC acknowledged — and the amount it spent on inspecting the schools sector fell by 52% in real terms between 1999–2000 and 2017–18.

Despite the cuts, however, there had still been ‘clear shortcomings’ in Ofsted’s performance, committee chair, Meg Hillier MP, insisted.

‘If the level of inspection continues to be eroded there is a risk that Ofsted will come to be perceived by parents, Parliament and taxpayers as not relevant or worse, simply a fig leaf for Government failures on school standards,’ she said.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman responded that, as with other areas in the public sector, they had been forced to do ‘more with less’.

‘I remain confident that our inspections provide parents, schools and the Government with the assurance they need about school standards and that we do so in a way that compares very favourably in terms of quality and value for money with school inspection regimes internationally,’ said Ms. Spielman.

‘However, as I said at the hearing, we have reached the limit in terms of being able to provide that level of assurance within our current funding envelope.

‘That is why, with our ongoing framework review, we are looking at how to ensure that schools and parents get everything they need from our reports, and why many of the committee’s recommendations are already long in train.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of HR/OD

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£60,000 circa
The role will involve working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive to lead our People Strategy and... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £9469 per annum
Please note this is part time position (18.5 hours a week) across Uttlesford, mainly based in Dunmow and Stansted and is to be offered on an initial 6 England, Essex, Dunmow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note this position is to be offered on an initial 6 month , fixed term basis. Do you enjoy working with people? Enthusiastic about playing a ke England, Essex, Saffron Walden
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant - Mark Hall Library

Essex County Council
£17000 - £18950 per annum
Please note that this position is a part time role, offering 18.5 hours per week and is offered on a Fixed Term Basis for a period of 6 months. England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this is a fixed term contract or secondment opportunity until December 2020 In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work". H England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores what impact the increase to the Public Works Loan Board rate have on councils’ capital schemes and why adopting AI will not just improve customer service response times for councils.

This issue also finds out how local government pension funds are backing infrastructure projects and calls on local government to get better value from its technology spend.

Register for your free magazine