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OFSTED BEGINS 'MODEL' INVESTIGATION OF LEA

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A team of inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education today starts a two-week investigation of the Calder...
A team of inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education today starts a two-week investigation of the Calderdale LEA, which was partly blamed for the collapse of order at the Ridings school in Halifax, The Guardian reports (p5).

The exercise is being regarded as a model for the compulsory inquiries into councils' education departments, envisaged in the Education Bill.

The inspectors will revisit 20 Calderdale schools which have recently been inspected, to get evidence about the LEA's competence in providing support services.

Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, is encouraging teachers to report defects they perceive in the LEA, guaranteeing that their criticism will be in confidence. He has assured the National Union of Teachers that there will be no attempt to target schools with poor performance or comment on any inadequate teaching discovered.

John Bangs, the union's assistant secretary, welcomed Woodhead's shift of emphasis. 'He is moving at last to accept our view that schools cannot operate on their own', he said.
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