Yorkshire LEAs get roasting from Ofsted

3 Feb 00
Education Secretary David Blunkett has ordered government intervention into the education authority in his home town of Sheffield after it was slated by Ofsted inspectors.

04 February 2000

Blunkett, who was council leader during the 1980s, appointed consultants following a critical report by the education watchdog on February 2.

The government has also appointed consultants to improve the education services of Leeds and Rotherham, following the publication of inspection reports described by some as Ofsted's most critical to date.

In a clear signal of its determination to continue to intervene in failing schools, the Department for Education and Employment has also advertised for new providers and consultants to meet the expected increase in the number of LEA interventions. Ofsted has found significant weaknesses in one in four LEAs inspected so far, although the DfEE expects intervention in one in ten.

Speaking at the publication of the reports on Leeds, Rotherham and Sheffield, chief inspector Chris Woodhead said standards in Leeds were 'shocking' and pointed the blame at the political leadership. Councillors' heavy involvement in the management of education led to confusion about where accountability and authority lay within the organisation, according to Woodhead.

Rotherham was criticised for its 'strategic drift, inadequate use of available information and poor planning', while Sheffield LEA's recent improvements in performance are 'insufficient', Ofsted said.

Schools standards Minister Estelle Morris denied that the report would cause any embarrassment to Blunkett, who also represents one of the city's constituencies


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