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Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead, today ...
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead, today

announced the names of 17 local education authorities to be inspected

by OFSTED, with the assistance of the Audit Commission, in spring


The LEAs are:

Bradford Portsmouth

Brighton & Hove Rochdale

Camden Tameside

City of York Trafford

Corporation of London Waltham Forest

Hammersmith & Fulham Wandsworth

Kensington and Chelsea Westminster

Luton Wolverhampton

North Yorkshire

The LEAs selected for inspection comprise a balance of high and low

performing authorities, and include London boroughs, county councils,

metropolitan and unitary authorities. At the secretary of state's

request, OFSTED also selected those LEAs participating in the

government's Excellence in the Cities programme which have not yet

been inspected.

Moreover, today OFSTED is publishing the revised Framework for the

Inspection of LEAs, which sets out the core functions of LEAs and the

criteria by which OFSTED and the Audit Commission will judge them.

The new Framework will be used by OFSTED for all LEA inspections from

1 September 1999.

Announcing the list of LEAs to be inspected, Chris Woodhead, the

chief inspector of schools said: 'No-one doubts the need for LEA

inspection. If school standards are to rise, the performance of LEAs

must also improve.

'So far, LEAs have responded well to inspection, and the evidence

that this is leading to improvement is encouraging. I am certain that

the LEAs which will be the first to be inspected in the new

millennium will continue this trend.'


1. Framework for the Inspection of LEAs (HMI 121) is available free

of charge from OFSTED Publications Centre. Tel 0207 510 0180.

2. The Framework, which was revised to take into account legislative

changes introduced under the School Standards and Framework Act

1998, will streamline the inspection process and reduce the period

of inspection. It will focus on issues which have the most

significant effect on school improvement and on key areas of

raising standards, improving the quality of teaching and school

management. The revised draft Framework was issued for

consultation to the DfEE, the Audit Commission, LEAs, teacher

unions and other organisations.

3. LEA inspections are conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectors from

OFSTED under powers conferred on Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of

Schools by Section 38 of the Education Act 1997. The principal

purpose of the inspections is to review the way LEAs perform their

functions in support of school improvement, including support to

individual pupils.

4. OFSTED inspected nine authorities on a pilot basis before LEA

inspections became statutory in 1998. In January 1999 the

secretary of state for education and employment asked OFSTED to

accelerate its programme of LEA inspections so that all 150 LEAs

will have been inspected by September 2001. The inspections

announced today will bring the total inspections by the end of

spring 2000 to 67.

5. OFSTED inspected the following LEAs in 1998: Southwark, Tower

Hamlets, Brent, Kingston-upon-Thames, Manchester, Sandwell,

Sunderland, Bury, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Kent, Surrey,

Norfolk and Newham.

LEAs inspected in spring 1999 were Durham, City of Kingston upon

Hull, Barnsley, Knowsley, Buckinghamshire, Solihull, Liverpool, and

the London boroughs of Bromley and Islington. Authorities being

inspected throughout the summer are Northumberland, Middlesbrough,

Stoke-on-Trent, City of Leicester, Rutland, Warwickshire, Newcastle

upon Tyne, and the London boroughs of Lambeth and Haringey.

LEAs to be inspected in autumn 1999 are Barnet, Bristol, Derbyshire,

Doncaster, Greenwich, Halton, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Leeds,

Lewisham, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Rotherham, Salford, Sheffield,

Solihull, Walsall and Worcestershire.

Estelle Morris, the school standards minister, today welcomed the

announcement of the list of the next 17 local education authorities

to be inspected by OFSTED. The schedule means that inspections will

be under way in all the remaining authorities involved in 'Excellence in Cities' by spring 2000.

She said:

'Education authorities play a key role in raising education standards

in the inner cities. They face many challenges. But where they get it

right they can make the difference between an education service that

really improves the life chances of children from some of the poorest

areas in the country, and a system that does little to lift those

children out of poverty.

'There are inner city success stories but too often standards are not

high enough. 'Excellence in Cities' is about learning the lessons of

those success stories. Creating an atmosphere where the difficulties

faced are seen as challenges to be overcome. The government will

provide targeted support in six inner city areas. By April 2000 they

will have been inspected by OFSTED and we will be able to decide how

best to support them further.

'By the end of spring 2000, 67 authorities will have been inspected.

Each inspection provides valuable information to the department and,

of course, the council themselves. We have asked OFSTED to inspect

all authorities by September 2001, so that we will have a full

picture of how each town hall is performing. Where they are not

delivering the service that we expect we have always said - and shown

- that we would use our powers to intervene.'

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