announced the names of 17 local education authorities to be inspected
by OFSTED, with the assistance of the Audit Commission, in spring
Brighton & Hove Rochdale
City of York Trafford
Corporation of London Waltham Forest
Hammersmith & Fulham Wandsworth
Kensington and Chelsea Westminster
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
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
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.
'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.'