DES Circular 1/87 (1987)

This circular explained how local education authorities and others should report on the measures taken following HMI inspections, as mentioned in paragraph 269 of the White Paper Better Schools.

The text of DES Circular 1/87 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 22 April 2021.

Circular 1/87 (1987)
Follow-up to HMI Reports

Department of Education and Science
London: 1987
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

[page 1]

Circular No 1/87
18 February 1987



1. Paragraph 269 of the White Paper "Better Schools" (Cmnd 9469) said that LEAs would be asked for a summary account of the action they have taken, across their schools, in the light of HMI inspection reports published since 1 January 1983, when the practice of publishing such reports began.

2. At that time, the then Secretary of State explained that the Government had it in view that publication would help to secure both more systematic follow-up to the reports and also the dissemination of good practice. Accordingly, in line with Administrative Memorandum 2/83, the letter which is sent by the Department to Authorities, and in the case of voluntary aided and special agreement schools to the Governing Body, requests information, within 3 months, on

a. what action the LEA and governors consider is required in relation to the institution inspected;

b. what action they have taken or propose to take; and

c. what application the findings of the report might have for other institutions maintained by the LEA.

3. The Secretary of State believes that the messages which emerge from the published reports in relation to particular institutions apply far more widely, and that it is important that their wider application should be noted and pursued. He attaches value also the the responses received as a result of the systematic follow-up described above. He now wishes to ascertain the extent to which the policies of Local Authorities and voluntary bodies are informed by a reading of HMI reports, what longer-term beneficial outcomes have resulted, and how these might be shared more widely. This enquiry relates to inspection reports issued by the date of this Circular concerning all types of schools, and additionally, to those on FE institutions proving full-time non-advanced education for 16-18 year olds (which are subject to similar follow-up arrangements). It does not relate to other published HMI reports or other documents published by HMI.

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4. The Secretary of State now asks Authorities to furnish him with a brief account of the following matters:

a. the extent to which Authorities have been able, and the means used, to secure that those who have an interest - elected members, officers, advisers, representatives of voluntary bodies, governors, heads, teachers, parents, the general public and the media - have an opportunity to read the reports on institutions maintained by their Authority;

b. what special arrangements have been made to initiate and monitor action in the light of reports and to report back within the Authority and where appropriate to the Department. For example, are reports and the proposed responses to this Department, including those on voluntary schools, shown to the Education Committee? Do the Advisory Services in the Authority have a special role to play?

c. What steps may have been taken by Authorities to draw appropriate HMI reports on institutions in other LEAs and the occasional series of HMI reviews of reports published under the title "Education Observed", to the attention of members, teachers and others?

d. How far have the messages in the published reports on institutions and "Education Observed" been reflected in or contributed to change in Authorities' curricular and other policies?

5. The Secretary of State would also welcome comment from the voluntary bodies, in particular as to what action has been taken, separate to any by LEAs, in respect of reports on aided and special agreement schools.

6. This brief account requested by the Circular should be submitted by 31 July 1987 to Mr DK Timms, Room 3/6, Department of Education and Science, Elizabeth House, York Road, London SE1 7PH.


To: Local Education Authorities and other bodies