Inspect outstanding schools 'when heads leave'

15th October 2010 at 01:00

Ofsted inspections of "outstanding" schools should be automatically triggered if headteachers leave their jobs, academy leaders have warned.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has proposed scrapping inspections of schools rated outstanding unless there is a complaint or results dip significantly.

But the Independent Academies Association (IAA), which represents more than 100 heads, has cautioned against the move.

Mike Butler, chair of the association and chief executive of Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham, said: "There is a danger involved if you say that outstanding schools will never be inspected. There have been examples of schools falling back following a change in senior leadership.

"It would be sensible to say that within a fixed period of a change, Ofsted should visit the school. Leaving it just to data is potentially risky."

Mr Butler stressed the importance of inspectors actually visiting schools to see the ethos and atmosphere for themselves. A "light-touch" inspection in a day might be sufficient, Mr Butler added.

Changes to Ofsted's inspection regime are expected to be outlined in the Education and Children's Bill, due to be published next month. The number of categories that Ofsted inspects is also set to be radically slimmed down from 18 to just four.

Currently, outstanding schools are inspected at least once every five years, with less highly rated schools being visited more frequently.

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