Chris Woodhead, appointed HM Chief Inspector in September, intends to examine several options, taking account of the senior staffing review being insisted upon across Government by the Treasury.
"The Treasury is suggesting that departments remove any unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and that has to be done next year," said Mr Woodhead. There is also an argument for a slimmer senior management team, because Mr Woodhead is full-time, whereas his predecessor worked part-time.
He has yet to decide whether to make temporary appointments pending final decisions on the structure. The number of HMIs has almost halved to 226. Further reductions are due, to reach a final total of 205 by April 1996.
The chief inspector has set up an independent think-tank to advise on the development of the school inspection system. It includes academics, senior local government officers and independent inspection agencies. Members are: Peter Coles, county education officer in Hampshire; John Dunford, of the Secondary Heads Association and head of Durham Johnston comprehensive; David Hargreaves, education professor at Cambridge; Barbara MacGilchrist, London Institute of Education; Margaret Morrissey, National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations; John Nellist, director of education in Cumbria; Anthony O'Hear, of Bradford University; Liz Paver, National Association of Head Teachers and head of Intake First School in Doncaster; Mike Raleigh, deputy director of education in Shropshire; Sylvia Richardson, of the Cambridgeshire Partnership; David Smith, chair of Action for Governors Information and Training; and Rashida Spencer, head of inspection in Northampton.