Ofsted under fire from university teacher trainers

January 29, 1999

Universities have accused schools' and teacher training inspectorate Ofsted of being unaccountable, inconsistent and possibly irrelevant to the quality of newly qualified teachers.

Their attack was backed by former teacher training inspector John Townshend, who said that university-based initial teacher training was in danger from "a very powerful Ofsted".

Members of the Commons' education sub-committee listened to a sustained attack on Ofsted at a hearing last week.

Witness Jim Campbell, head of education at Warwick University, said that the impact Ofsted had on universities was more significant than on schools. This is because Ofsted ratings of teacher training departments are used by the Teacher Training Agency, which accredits and funds courses, as a base for decisions.

Professor Campbell questioned the reliability of the Ofsted inspection methodology and the necessity for frequent inspections, particularly for courses that had scored high in earlier inspections.

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