Ofsted to face select committee inquiry

MPs are to launch an inquiry into the role and performance of Ofsted it was announced today.

MPs are to launch an inquiry into the role and performance of Ofsted it was announced today.

The Education Select Committee announced a call for evidence today on a range of elements including whether Ofsted should carry out inspections of both schools and children’s services and what the purposes of inspection should be.

Other elements being examined include the performance of Ofsted in carrying out its work, the consistency and quality of inspection teams and the weight given to different factors within the inspection process.

The move follows a deterioration in relations between Ofsted and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services with many directors claiming the former education-only inspectorate lacked the expertise to inspect children’s social care. The watchdog has also been accused of failing to consult properly on changes to its inspection processes.

Ofsted was threatened with an MPs inquiry before the election after a whistleblower claimed senior managers had changed an emergency inspection report of Haringey’s safeguarding services following the Baby P case. However, it was put on hold until after the judicial review of the sacking of former Haringey Director of Children’s Services Sharon Shoesmith. The election then saw the chairmanship of the select committee change hands.

An Ofsted spokesperson said the watchdog “welcomed” the opportunity to discuss their role. “People tell us they value our work in driving improvement, empowering parents and service users, and keeping children safe. We have continually cut costs and provide good value for the taxpayer.

“A time of significant policy change provides a good opportunity to examine our activities, and we look forward to discussing our inspection and regulation work and hearing MPs’ views.”

The Committee has asked for written evidence to be submitted before 8 October 2010.

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