Government plans to enlarge Ofsted in order to create a single inspectorate that will include all of the services for both children and learners.

Ruth Kelly announced that:
We are committed to bringing the children’s services work of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) into Ofsted, together with the Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) Inspection remit of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Court Administration (HMICA). We welcome your views on our plans to achieve this and on whether the inspection remit of the Adult Learning Inspectorate should also be part of these arrangements. We also believe that we need to consider ways to tighten up the statement of duties of Ofsted as well as to modernise its governance.’

These plans,’ she went on to say, ‘form one of the key strands in the government’s strategy to reform public service inspection to focus more closely on the needs of users, generate improvement in those services inspected and regulated, and achieve improved value for money. ‘Creating a single inspectorate for children and learners reflects our commitment to integrate services around the experiences of children, young people and learners of all ages. It will mirror developments locally, where partners are increasingly working together more effectively to achieve better outcomes for users of public services.

‘These proposals are also designed to reduce bureaucracy and the burden of inspection. In doing so they will free up resources to the front-line, deliver the assurance and confidence that is needed on service quality and standards, and ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect our most vulnerable children and young people. An enlarged Ofsted will provide a new single and authoritative voice across the full system of services for children and learners.’

The proposals are also intended to bring together the ‘inspection of vocational and academic learning’ and it is planned that the new enlarged inspectorate will be operational by April 2007. Meanwhile, the proposals have been published for consultation.

James Rogers, the executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) spoke directly to CPD Update about the single inspectorate. He emphasises that this announcement fits into a general strategy that includes workforce remodelling, the children agenda and extended schools. ‘The implications for CPD’, he says, ‘are that it must be planned, carried out, evaluated and disseminated in a much wider context than ever before. School-based professional learning and action research will, if it has not already begun to do so, become part of the work-based learning of other, related, professional groups. Self-evaluation prior to inspection is only just beginning but in future it too will grow out of a more complex set of professional relationships and it will be crucial to ensure that CPD policies take this into account.’

Enquiries about the consultation to: the inspection reform team on 020 7925 5155 or e-mail: inspection.reform@dfes.gsi.gov.uk

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