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Confidential reports to heads 'unlawful'

A governors' association may ask the Secretary of State to order OFSTED to change what it regards as unlawful proposals for reporting exclusively to heads on the best and worst teaching.

The requirement that inspectors should inform heads of teachers rated grade one or grade seven on the new OFSTED scale is contained in a new code of practice for reporting on individual teachers. This requires a written report "in confidence" and says, "It is for the headteacher to decide the use to be made of the information provided and, on request, to pass the information to the governing body".

Walter Ulrich, information officer of the National Association for Governors and Managers, said he expected this to be changed. "If it isn't, we will ask the Secretary of State to issue a direction to OFSTED as it is proposing something totally outwith the law."

The Schools Act 1992 which gave OFSTED the powers to collect information through inspections required them to report on it to the responsible body - which in most cases is the governing body. Confidential reports to heads had "an impossible legal status", he said.

"This is part of the registered inspectors' report to the governing body and cannot have any other validity." But NAGM's real preference is to have the idea of reporting on individuals dropped altogether. "Any advantages are outweighed by the demoralisation of teachers who are jumpy enough about inspection as it is," said Walter Ulrich.

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