Critical friend

29th November 1996 at 00:00
I read the article about local education authority inspections (TES, November 15) with great interest. As an elected member, I am in the position of knowing how my own LEA works, but without independent reference points to guide me on improving the service.

For that reason, when I heard about the independent reviews of LEAs I was very interested and, through the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, I volunteered the London Borough of Hillingdon for an independent inspection next year.

What I want is the "critical friend" approach, put forward by Professor Kogan and his team, not the "critical and corrective" approach of the Office for Standards in Education. I want the whole LEA looked at, not just those parts that appeal to OFSTED. I want to have confidence that the findings of the inspections are impartial and, for the benefit of the users of the LEA services, not biased by central government dictate.

I have confidence in the way Professor Kogan and his team have worked in Staffordshire and Kirklees. I'm afraid I have very little confidence in the impartiality of OFSTED.

PETER RYERSON Chair, Education Committee London Borough of Hillingdon Uxbridge, Middlesex

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