Ed Balls' week: a new bill, more academies and a school visit

13th July 2007 at 01:00
He wants Ofsted to take tough line on discipline and reveals his new national excellence council

OFSTED INSPECTORS will focus on bad behaviour during school visits, both repeated low level disruption and more serious isolated incidents, under directions from Ed Balls.

The Children, Schools and Families Secretary used his first parliamentary statement this week to signal a further expansion of Ofsted's overview of schools, with "strong new guidance" to inspectors who witness bad behaviour.

"Repeated low level disruption, as well as more serious isolated incidents of bad behaviour, should not be tolerated," he said. "Ofsted's inspectors will focus on behaviour during inspections. And where they find behaviour to be inadequate, they will conduct monitoring visits to make sure it improves."

An Ofsted spokesman said the inspectorate took behaviour very seriously. Even good schools faced monitoring if inspectors judged pupils' behaviour to be inadequate.

Teacher union representatives are unhappy with the move and met Mr Balls to express concern. "Teachers see Ofsted as an enforcement agency, with no expertise to support them in enforcing discipline," said Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union. "Ofsted is not fit for purpose."

The Association of School and College Leaders said schools needed support from parents in enforcing discipline, not additional scrutiny from Ofsted.

As The TES predicted last month, the Prime Minister will chair the new National Council for Educational Excellence, alongside Mr Balls. Its members include Christine Gilbert, chief inspector; Ed Gould, chair of the Independent Schools Council; Stephen Munday, principal of Comberton village college, Cambridge; Felicity Martin, head of Eggar's school, Alton, Hampshire; Sir Alan Steer, head of Seven Kings high, Ilford; Jo Davidson' Gloucestershire children's services director; and Bernadette Duffy, head of the Thomas Coram centre, Camden.

What Balls unveiled

pound;150m spread over three years for personalised learning, to help teachers track pupil progress.

An extra pound;265m over three years for extended schools to help disadvantaged pupils.

An extra training day for secondary teachers in 200708 to help them prepare for the new curriculum.

Ofsted to demand better control of bad behaviour in schools.

Academies to work from the core national curriculum in English, maths, science and ICT.

Universities, colleges and high-achieving schools to found academies without being required to provide pound;2m sponsorship.

The Teach First on-the-job training scheme to expand beyond London and Manchester, focusing on wooing trainees from industry and the sciences.

The Government to consult on a "Children's Plan" to set policy for the next 10 years.

Sir Peter Williams, Leicester University chancellor, to chair a review of primary maths.

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