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Ofsted to revise school inspection procedures

Thu 12 Jan 2012

Schools could soon be set to face inspections from Ofsted without being notified in advance.

According to the regulator, some schools can be subject to a spot check if certain issues have already been flagged up.

However, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new chief inspector of Ofsted, wants the body to go further and take this approach across the board.

Commenting on the proposals, he said taking "that final step" would help to ensure that inspectors are getting an accurate view of what is happening in the classroom, the staffroom and in the corridors.

Sir Michael stated that the new procedures, which could be in place by September 2012, should also ensure parents can have "absolute confidence" in the body's findings.

He said Ofsted already has "considerable experience in undertaking unannounced inspections and we know it works".

Andrea Squires, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "The DfE's intervention strategy continues to evolve, but what I think is still needed is a clear policy on support for schools who are facing difficulties without this involving full blown intervention and where appropriate conversion to academy status. As support from LAs dwindles, there needs to be something to replace it."

This comes after Sue Gregory, national director of Ofsted, said the group's "professional and highly trained" inspectors are able to identify whether schools are trying to manipulate an inspection, possibly by removing unruly pupils.

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