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NEW REMIT FOR OFSTED - BLUNKETT

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Education and employment secretary David Blunkett today wrote to ...
Education and employment secretary David Blunkett today wrote to

Chris Woodhead, HM Chief Inspector of Schools, with a new remit for

the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).

Mr Blunkett said:

'As the introduction of our two Education Bills in parliament before

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;

failing schools;

special educational needs;

drugs education;

schools' partnership with parents;

initial teacher training;

the induction year for newly-qualified teachers;

training for headship.

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