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Spending on Ofsted doubles in two years

PUBLIC spending on the Office for Standards in Education has doubled to nearly pound;200 million in just two years as the watchdog has expanded to cover childcare.

Ofsted says the cost of its work has risen in the past year to pound;197m and will rise to pound;207m next year. In 20002001 the figure was pound;104m. Ofsted has expanded rapidly since taking on early-years and further education colleges in 2001.

According to its departmental report, which outlines its performance and funding, Ofsted has met most of its efficiency targets, including those for school inspection quality. But its staff are taking twice as many days off sick as expected. Last year they took on average 9.3 days off sick, compared to a target of 4.8.

The report said the rise in sickness absence was due to Ofsted's "transitional time" and changes in the composition of its staff.

The amount spent on cars owned by Ofsted has doubled from pound;318,000 to pound;637,000 www.ofsted.gov.uk

Analysis, 20-21

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