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Ofsted will not inspect lunchboxes

Ofsted will no longer check up on the contents of students' lunchboxes under measures contained in the Education Bill to slim down the watchdog.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the schools inspectorate should concentrate on key areas like achievement and behaviour, rather than "peripheral" issues.

The new Bill focuses on boosting standards and improving behaviour in schools.

If passed, it will grant the Secretary of State powers to order a local council to close schools that are judged to be in special measures, require significant improvement or have failed to comply with a warning notice. And academy sponsors will be stripped of their involvement in a school if that school under-performs.

Changes to Ofsted will mean schools will be judged by the watchdog on four key areas - quality of teaching, leadership, pupils' behaviour and achievement.

Publishing the Bill on Thursday, Mr Gove said: "There are areas of Ofsted inspections, such as community cohesion or regulations governing what students bring in in their lunchboxes at lunchtime, which are entirely peripheral.

"One of the problems with Ofsted inspections is that they are asked to inspect and measure for things which, by definition, are hard to judge and not central to what schools are about."

The Bill hands more control to the Education Secretary to intervene in failing schools. Mr Gove insisted that under-achieving academies will not be exempt from this.

"There is absolutely no reluctance on our part to deal with any academy that's failing," he said. "Every school that under-performs will be held up to high standards.

"If sponsors are not doing the appropriate job then we will demand change. If necessary we will take the school out of that sponsor's hands and into someone's who can turn it around."


From Belfast Telegraph