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Ofsted's #163;900k new website will scrap 'improved' search engine

Ofsted is to scrap its new online search facility for inspection reports after just a year, following a string of complaints.

Users of the watchdog's website have complained that the supposedly improved search section is inadequate for helping them to find providers in a geographical area.

Concerns have also been raised about its speed and accuracy since it was launched last June, prompting Ofsted to publish an apology to users on its homepage.

A revamped website, produced at a cost of more than #163;900,000, is due to be unveiled "in the next few months".

The statement on the inspectorate's homepage says: "Following the launch of the new inspection reports search in June, we have received feedback from users whose needs are not met by this new search facility. We apologise for this.

"A new Ofsted website is due in the next few months and we can reassure users that we will use this feedback when designing the new website's inspection reports search. We apologise for any inconvenience the current inspection reports search may cause."

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "Parents tell us that they want to be able to compare what's available in a geographical area, whatever they are looking for - for example, a child minder or a school.

"They also want the search to be quick and accurate, with more help, such as suggestions if they spell something incorrectly. With so many changes taking place across the education landscape it will also be important for people to be able to keep track of the history of different providers - and again, we hope that the updated site will better support this need."

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, Ofsted has so far spent #163;917,000 on its new website.

A spokeswoman said it could not reveal how much of this had been spent on producing a new search engine.

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