Making school inspection visits more effective: the English experience

Wilcox, Brian
Trends in school supervision
84 p.

Online version

About the publication

The purpose of this short monograph is not to provide a detailed manual on school inspection. The production of such would be illusory because the author does not believe that a universal approach appropriate to the requirements of different countries and regions is feasible. The rationale of the present work is somewhat different: it is to provide a critical examination of the nature of inspection and so identify important issues for consideration by those responsible for devising or revising their inspection practices. The perspective adopted here is strongly influenced by the English experience of introducing a new system of inspection from 1993 carried out by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).It is recognized that much of this experience may at first seem inapplicable to other countries. However the adoption of this perspective is justified on three grounds. First, the OFSTED approach to inspection is probably the most comprehensive and publicly transparent yet implemented. Second, OFSTED inspections have prompted a burgeoning of associated research, one effect of which has been that we now know more about inspection and its effects than ever before. Finally the critical examination of the OFSTED methodology provides a unique opportunity to identify the fundamental issues which any inspectorate anywhere is required to face.