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Schools: Inspections

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for what reasons agreements of contracts between Ofsted and inspection contractors have not been reached in accordance with the originally planned timetable. (259625)

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 26 February 2009:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, for a response.

The original timetable for the awarding of new inspection contracts made provision for decisions being made in January 2009. In October 2008, a decision was taken to delay this by one month to allow the process to take full account of organisational changes within Ofsted.

On 25 February 2009, bidders were informed about the outcomes and a press release was placed on the Ofsted website. The contract award is subject to an Alcatel (standstill) period under European legislation, which will end on 9 March 2009. Publicity during the Alcatel period is being kept deliberately ‘low key’, restricted to information that bidders are obliged to provide under the London Stock Exchange Disclosure and Transparency Rules (DTR).

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