Unlocking the potential: inspection as a mechanism for school improvement

Chapman, C. (2001) Unlocking the potential: inspection as a mechanism for school improvement. Improving Schools, 4(3), pp. 41-50. (doi:10.1177/136548020100400306)

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There is growing evidence to suggest that effective external support plays an intrinsic role in successful school improvement (West 2000; Harris 2001). The Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED) is an example of an external agency with potential to fulfil this role. Undoubtedly, the OfSTED inspection process has had a profound effect on our teachers, schools and the wider educational context of England and Wales. Arguably it has also played one of the key roles in national educational reform this century by increasing schools’ accountability for their actions, and systematically monitoring their long-term strategic decision making and progress. However, the widely used corporate slogan of ’improvement through inspection’ appears to be less robust in response to criticism, and it has been fiercely argued in some quarters that OfSTED has only made limited contributions towards school development and improvement efforts. ’ This article investigates the relationship between OfSTED inspections and school improvement. The relevant literature base relating to the contribution that OfSTED can make to classroom and school improvement is examined and teacher perceptions of the process explored. Finally, the impact of OfSTED on our educational system is discussed and the need for further debate and a rigorous reconceptualisation of school evaluation highlighted.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chapman, Professor Christopher
Authors: Chapman, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Improving Schools
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
Published Online:01 January 2001

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