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Private school chief predicts the end of school inspections

Can you imagine a future without school inspections? One of the leading figures in the UK’s independent school sector can.

But don’t be fooled. Many might see his vision of the school accountability system ten years from now as even more worrying than the current one.

David Hanson, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, is due to say that all school exams will eventually be carried out online, with results fed back to the authorities.

Only schools whose assessment data does not come up to scratch will undergo a real-life inspection, he will suggest at his organisation's annual conference in London next week.

“Inspection will only be for the minority of schools that fall below expected or projected performance,” he will say. Instead, a “school performance audit” could be “conducted remotely” for the majority of schools.

For those who don’t wish to be judged only on their results, it might sound like a nightmare. For those with tidy data that ticks all the government’s boxes, it is perhaps a more relaxing way of doing business with the authorities. It could certainly save on the school inspection bill.

Mr Hanson will also many a number of other predictions at the conference about how education will develop over the next decade, including a bigger and more integrated role for the independent sector.

“The education system will be highly diversified and decentralised. Academies, free schools and private independent schools will work together in local consortia,” he will say.

“For the last two decades we have seen unprecedented government intervention, prescription and spending on education, yet many would say that the system is still not working," he will add.
"Throughout all this time our independent schools have managed to hold onto what they know to be true and have illuminated – through their quality, standards, culture, values and ethos – what a world class education should look like."

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