Ofsted document expresses concerns over decreasing budgets
Much fewer intensive inspections in future
An internal Ofsted document ,planning for its future, titled ‘The Future operating model programme’ ,of May 2014, admits that a major factor informing its decision to stop out sourcing inspection contracts, from August next year, with Serco, Tribal and CFBT Education Trust, worth around £40m, was cost.
Ofsted had until very recently been expressing its absolute confidence in its arrangements with private providers and the quality of inspections. Indeed, it did not accept criticisms that, for example, inspectors were favouring a particular style of teaching. So, Providers were somewhat taken aback by how quickly things changed . It is now becoming clearer that costs were a major factor informing the Ofsted decision.
The document states ‘We are facing decreasing budget in future years and need to ensure that we are appropriately organised to address the financial challenges ahead. Our future delivery approach must not tie us in to restrictive contracts or require us to pay a premium for flexibility and must improve improve the quality of inspection’. It also states that the ‘the number of intensive high cost inspections will be reduced and we can invest more in the quality of inspections by increasing the numbers of highly regarded HMIs , and utilising more serving head teachers and senior leaders to work alongside HMI as Associate Inspectors’.
It adds ‘Our ability to flex our resourcing is also important and we do not want to have the market to deliver this flexibility. We will want to be able to turn resource on and off as required without being locked in to fixed price or ‘volume banded’ contracts’.
Prospects Services undertakes some early years’ inspection and regulation in the north of England and the Midland