Inspectors' reports must oust jargon

29th October 2004 at 01:00
Parents will be able to find out whether their child will be happy, safe and free from being bullied in new-style school inspection reports to be introduced next year.

Jargon will be banished and inspectors will be expected to give parents "a clear and unequivocal answer" to questions about what a school provides.

This will include inspectors' judgements on whether children attending a school will be happy, safe, enjoy school and learn something.

The move is part of a new framework by the Office for Standards in Education, which will cut the notice schools are given of inspections, from up to ten weeks at present to just a few days, expected to be introduced in September 2005. The maximum period between inspections will also be cut to three years.

Parents' meetings with inspectors will be replaced by a brief questionnaire asking for their views, which will form part of the evidence examined by inspectors. Ofsted believes that the parents who turn up to the meeting are often unrepresentative.

A consultation paper, published on Ofsted's website, said that current reports focus too much on how schools operate and calls for them to be made more accessible.

The new framework will "essentially, represent our view of what it is society has a right to expect a school to achieve for its pupils not a professional consensus about how a school should be run," the paper said.

Ofsted confirmed plans to abolish the requirement to have a lay inspector on every inspection "Among the many complaints (to be set alongside far more numerous expressions of satisfaction) about section 10 inspectors, that of undue empathy with the point of view of teachers has not been especially prominent," the paper said.

New Inspections and the Viewpoint of Users is at www.ofsted.gov.ukpublicationsindex.cfm

OFSTED-SPEAK OLD AND NEW

* Matched against similar schools, using the free school meals comparator, the proportion of students gaining five or more GCSE grades A* to C and A* to G was broadly in line with the average, as was the average points score per student.

(The school does as well as the average of those with similar levels of deprivation).

* A computer suite now enables whole-class teaching of skills. Each class has a computer and a laptop computer to develop skills across the curriculum and the teachers continue to enhance their professional knowledge of the subject.

(The school has increased the number and quality of computers and developed teachers' skills in using them).

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