Chris Woodhead, HM Chief Inspector of Schools, with a new remit for
the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).
Mr Blunkett said:
Christmas showed, we are pushing ahead with implementing our agenda
for improving schools. We have much to do in 1998, both in
Parliament and outside, and we will be working closely with OFSTED
and our other partners in order to achieve our aims.
'This letter explains the key role which the chief inspector and his
colleagues will have, together with other partners, in helping to
deliver the government's standards agenda.'
The letter says:
'I set out our agenda in the White Paper, Excellence in schools,
where I made clear the government's goal of a society in which
everyone is well-educated. It follows that I am determined that
standards in all our schools will rise, and that there needs to be
the right balance of pressure and support to achieve that. I greatly
value the work of our LEAs, our schools and our teachers but they
all need support, and at times challenge. '
'I am confident that OFSTED has an important part to play in
helping me to achieve higher standards. I am committed to regular
inspection of all schools by OFSTED. It contributes to public
accountability and to the improvement of the education service
through the comparative data which is then made available.
'On the basis of individual school inspections and the programme
of LEA inspections that you have now embarked upon, OFSTED is in a
position to offer advice on many aspects of the education service.
I welcome that advice, and will continue to seek it. I will also
expect OFSTED to make that advice available to other key partners in
the education service, including the two major NDPBs that deal with
schools, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Teacher
Training Agency and, in due course, the new General Teaching Council
we are establishing. It is crucial that we all work closely
together in the drive to raise standards.'
The letter sets out some of the key areas on which OFSTED will be
advising Ministers and the Department:
the literacy and numeracy strategies;
access and equal opportunities;
curriculum and assessment;
pupils' behaviour and attendance;
special educational needs;
schools' partnership with parents;
initial teacher training;
the induction year for newly-qualified teachers;
training for headship.