Barnet Hertfordshire Rotherham
Bristol Lancashire Salford
Doncaster Lewisham Solihull
Greenwich Oxfordshire Walsall
Halton Plymouth Worcestershire
Among the criteria used to make the selection of LEAs were the performance of their schools, the involvement of some of them in the government's recently announced excellence in the cities initiative and the quality of their educational development plans.
These LEAs will be inspected under a revised framework for the inspection of LEAs, which is being issued for consultation by OFSTED this week.
Mr Woodhead, said: 'LEAs have an important role in raising standards. Inspection by OFSTED and the Audit Commission holds them to account for their effectiveness in carrying out that role. At the same time, inspection has an important part to play in informing LEAs themselves of the improvements they need to make, which are often considerable.
'The inspections carried out to date have had a major impact and have been generally welcomed, not least by the LEAs themselves. OFSTED
welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the improvement in LEA performance the government wants and the country needs.'
1. The period for consultation of the draft revised framework for the inspection of LEAs ends on 27 April 1999.
2. LEA inspections are conducted by Her Majesty's inspectors from OFSTED under powers conferred on HM chief inspector of schools by
s38 of the Education Act 1997. The Audit Commission is contributing to all LEA inspections.
3. 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. In January 1999 David Blunkett, secretary of state for education and employment, asked OFSTED to accelerate its programme of LEA
inspections so that all LEAs have been inspected by September 2001.
OFSTED has inspected nine authorities on a pilot basis before the inspections became statutory and 16 LEAs under the legislation in
1998. The 18 inspections announced today will bring the total of inspections conducted in 1999 to 35.
5. OFSTED is a non-ministerial government department established under the education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Its staff include Her Majesty's inspectors (HMI), who draw on inspection evidence to report on good practice in schools and on a wide range of educational issues.