Conservatives deny plans to bring Ofsted within DfE
The Conservatives have denied rumours that they are planning to bring Ofsted into the Department for Education as an executive agency, should they come to power after the election.
The party has pledged to make Ofsted inspections less onerous for schools in its election manifesto, but a number of different sources have claimed in recent days that it was also intending to place it under direct control of the Whitehall department.
And on Thursday afternoon, Ian Mearns, Labour's candidate for Gateshead and a former member of the Commons Education Select Committee, asked the NUT and NASUWT unions about the rumours on Twitter.
Other independent sources linked to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat camps, contacted by the TES, confirmed they had also heard that an announcement was due imminently.
But a Conservative party source has firmly quashed the rumours.
"We have already said in our manifesto that we will look at reducing the burden of Ofsted but there are absolutely no plans to bring it into the DfE," the source said.
The Conservatives have said they will reform Ofsted to use more data, arguing this would allow it to be less reliant on inspections. In contrast, Labour has said it wants to work towards a peer review system that would be moderated by Ofsted - a move that has been warmly welcomed by heads' and teachers' leaders.