Boldness is a benefit

24th November 2000 at 00:00
WHETHER the Inspectorate had grown too big for its boots and become too involved in policy-making is less important than that people had reached such a belief. In an era of open government, transparency of decision-making and stakeholder involvement, it is unsurprising that a new minister should have decided to remove a widely-held grievance.

To insiders, restructuring a service that dates back to the early days of Queen Victoria is boldness itself. To the general public, it is undramatic because their immediate interests are not touched. To teachers, it holds out prospects of benefit - and any governmental olive branch is welcome when the minister responsible is about to face end-game in the negotiations about pay and conditions and will need all the goodwill he has accumulated.

The new way of working starts on December 1 and details of howindependent the executive agency will be remain unclear. So is the process by which other inspectors meld into the administrative teams of the education department.

Unusually for the civil service, this is restructuring on the hoof, an indication that Jack McConnell feels a need immediately to draw a line under past controversies about the development of Higher Still, just as he has tried to set the Scottish Qualifications Authority on a firm new course. As with the departure of Sam Galbraith from education, another sting has been drawn from the forthcoming reports on the SQA and Higher Still by the parliamentary committees.

When the inspector calls, teachers will learn whether adherence to every last detail of curriculum and management "advice" is no longer expected now that the ownership of policy has shifted. Don't count on it.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today