An apology from OFSTED

11th May 2001 at 01:00
AN article in your Briefing section on January 26 referred extensively to the Office for Standards in Education inspection report on Blackburn with Darwen.

I regret that our report contains a serious inaccuracy. There were not nine schools on special measures on April 1, 1998, the date on which the new LEA was formally established. There were four schools on special measures. I have apologised to Lancashire LEA for the error. OFSTED will amend the report on our web site.

You correctly represented our report on Blackburn with Darwen as highly favourable. However, partly because of the error in our report, the contrast drawn with the previous authorty was less than fair and may have inadvertently led readers to believe that OFSTED was critical of Lancashire LEA. This is not the case. Our view of Lancashire was expressed in our report of January 2000: "Most of what the LEA does, it does well." That is still our view.

In a few respects the new LEA inherited a challenging legacy. In most respects Blackburn with Darwen was able to build on previous good work by Lancashire. OFSTED and the Audit Commission reported very positively on Lancashire after its autumn 1999 inspection.

David Singleton

Head of LEA Inspection Division OFSTED

Alexandra House, 33 Kingsway

London WC2

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