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Flexible guide to primary inspection

Inspection and beyond: quality assurance in the primary school A professional development package for primary teachers, Pounds 99. 0 582 24977S Longman Information and Reference. This is a flexible package of development material to support primary schools preparing for inspection or reviewing the quality of their provision.

Devised by Manchester Metropolitan University, it contains two videos, a workbook with related professional development activities and support material from the Handbook for the inspection of schools. Some schools may use the whole package prior to inspection; others may focus on specific areas to evaluate and review practice using inspection criteria.

Target setting is an important outcome of most activities which lead to action planning either for the school as a whole or for individual teachers. The materials here attempt to make the Handbook for inspection and the criteria seem "user friendly".

The primary focus of Inspection and Beyond is that the whole school community (staff, governors and parents) should be informed and understand what inspection involves. Even schools not imminently preparing for inspection will find the package valuable for devising a professional programme clearly related to school development plans.

The two accompanying videos offer an introduction to a wide range of inspection issues, while the activities in the handbook provide a detailed and practical grasp of their implications and help staff analyse their policies and practices. The materials are divided into easily-manageable sections which refer to sections of the video. Emphasis is placed on careful examination of the evaluation criteria used in inspection, and activity outlines provide useful information about purpose, time allocation and intended outcomes for each area.

The handbook provides a useful introduction for the person leading any activities. The benefit of this package is that the materials may be used flexibly in anticipating and responding to the particular needs of the school.

Most activities are designed to present to a whole school staff working either in small groups or individually and then reporting back to the whole staff team. Professional development activities provide input into the following areas: links with parents; pupils; personal development; behaviour and discipline; planning the curriculum; quality of teaching and learning; assessment; recording and reporting, and special educational needs.

The format of the activities is clear and accessible, and each section provides an overview of activities, copies of photocopiable materials and a short reading list.

Although the package appears to be expensive, it is cheaper than most one-day in-service training courses and its flexibility and "user-friendly" style recommend it as a valuable resource for primary schools.

TES MARCH 10 1995 The year is 1837: 300 children marched through Hitchin last week to take their places in the Lancasterian Hall, the only surviving `gallery' classroom. School parties will be able to role-play in period costume and use textbooks of the time PAULSALMON

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