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Inspectors with the caring touch set to hit primaries

INSPECTORS have been told to take a "softly-softly" approach to primary schools during the autumn term when the two-year relaxation of the national curriculum ends.

Detailed programmes of study in the six foundation subjects were suspended by the Government in 1998 to allow concentration on the literacy and numeracy hours.

From this month, schools will be required to follow the revised Curriculum 2000 which re-

instates detailed programmes of study, albeit allowing more flexibility than in the past.

According to the Office for Standards in Education, the 1,000 or so schools gearing up for inspections this term need not panic. A spokesman said that inspectors have been reminded of the need to approach primary schools with "sensitivity".

He said: Primary schools in particular are very much at a point of change and inspectors are aware of that. Teachers need time to adjust to the new curriculum. We cannot expect schools to be instantly transformed from day one. The early autumn inspections will be looking at the fruits of what has been going on in previous terms."

The friendly approach may partly be due to the fact that detailed subject guidance for OFSTED inspectors will not be ready until October.

The OFSTED spokesman said that the slight delay was due to more pressing priorities such as new early-years and post-16 responsibilities.

Likewise, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority guidance on the use of time in the primary curriculum will arrive in schools half-way through this term.

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