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Ofsted Inspections

Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who is responsible for establishing whether individual inspections by Ofsted meet the required standards. (106839)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 1 December 2006:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.

You asked who is responsible for establishing whether individual inspections by Ofsted meet the required standards.

Ultimately, I have the responsibility for establishing that individual inspections by Ofsted meet the required standards. In practice, responsibility for the quality assurance of inspections and reports is discharged at a number of different levels. The first level of responsibility rests with the lead inspector who should ensure that the inspection is carried out in accordance with Ofsted's code of conduct and the relevant framework and guidance. In the case of maintained and independent schools, our National and Regional Inspection Services Providers are required to ensure that the inspectors they employ conduct inspections that are of the standard required by Ofsted. Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) visit a proportion of inspections to check that they are of the required standard.

The lead inspector is responsible for producing an inspection report that is accurate and fair. Each report is read and its quality assessed. In the case of reports on inspections of maintained and independent schools, quality reading is undertaken by the relevant Regional or National Inspection Services Provider, but all reports must then be signed off by HMI on behalf of HMCI before publication. Reports on initial teacher training providers and local authority services are read and checked by HMI. I personally sign off all reports where a school is placed into special measures.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the Library of both Houses.