Ofsted launches consultation on inspection of residential provision in boarding and residential special schools

30 Mar 2011 03:03 PM

Today Ofsted launches a consultation on its proposals for inspecting residential provision in boarding and residential special schools. The changes reflect new national minimum standards being introduced by the government in September 2011. Ofsted’s aim is to use this opportunity to revise and strengthen the inspection system.

The consultation seeks the views of everyone with an interest in boarding and residential special schools. The proposed changes are intended to benefit schools, teachers and proprietors by providing them with better information on how inspectors make their judgements. They are intended to promote improvement with clearer reports for parents, carers and placing authorities. And most important of all, the changes should help ensure a better residential experience for children.

In order to do this, Ofsted is proposing to focus on four key areas in its inspections: outcomes for boarders; the quality of boarding provision and care; safeguarding and the effectiveness of leadership and management. Ofsted is seeking views on whether these four areas will enable inspectors to capture how effective boarding or special schools are.

Welcoming the consultation launch Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said:

'It is vital that our inspection of boarding and residential special schools meets the needs of children living in these schools. I hope everyone with an interest in boarding provision will give us their views.'

As well as looking at the key judgements, the consultation asks whether it is right to take a common approach to inspecting boarding and residential special schools. Ofsted is also seeking better ways of capturing parents’ views of boarding provision.

Ofsted will also no longer be asking schools to complete the online self-evaluation forms currently in use and the online forms will cease in August this year. Self-evaluation itself is important to improvement and so will remain central to inspection but schools can provide their self-evaluation in whichever form they wish to present it.

Other changes being considered are whether a letter summarising the inspection findings should be produced for boarders, and whether to publish monitoring reports of schools with serious weaknesses, to improve transparency.

The consultation for boarding and special residential schools closes at the end of May and key findings will be published during the summer term. The results from the consultation and a series of pilot inspections, will inform a new inspection framework to come into force on 1 September 2011.

Notes for Editors

1. The Inspection of residential provision in boarding and residential special schools can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/110028.

The new national minimum standards for boarding provision and special residential schools will be introduced in September 2011.

2. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

3. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 6574 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.