William Eichler 07 September 2018

Ofsted ‘fig leaf’ for Whitehall failures on school standards

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.’

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.