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Tomlinson expected to ease inspection burden

CHIEF inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson was this week expected to announce measures to reduce the bureaucratic burden of school inspections.

Proposals to cut the paperwork to be done in schools before inspections, and for information pooling between the Office for Standards in Education and the Department for Education and Employment were expected to be submitted.

The move was prompted at the launch of last February's Green Paper, after which the Prime Minister said that he was concerned about the bureaucratic burden of inspections.

An OFSTED spokesman said there was concern that schools were sometimes asked to provide OFSTED with information which they had already given to other government departments.

He said: "We are always looking at the machinery of inspection - the things that we ask for from schools in advance of inspections, the forms that we send them to fill in, the documents that we epect or do not expect them to have.

"This is a re-evaluation of all that, looking at whether there are better ways of compiling that information, and looking at to what extent there's duplication involving Government departments.

"The DFEE might already have asked schools for some information and there's a danger that they might already have been asked for things two to three times by various government agencies. We will be seeking to avoid that duplication."

The changes, prompted by a joint study by OFSTED and the Government's standards and effectiveness unit, comes after Education Secretary David Blunkett this week ruled out a recent suggestion by Mr Tomlinson that schools could be inspected as rarely as once every 10 years. The proposals are expected to be implemented from September.

The paper "Reducing the burden of inspection" is available on the OFSTED's website:

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