HMI Today and Tomorrow (1970)

An account of the history, role and organisation of HMI.

The complete document is presented in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go straight to the various sections:

1 Introduction and History (page 1)
2 Organisation and Deployment (5)
3 Selection and Training (9)
4 The Inspector at Work (1) (12)
Schools and Colleges
5 The Inspector at Work (2) (17)
Service to Other Bodies
6 Future Inspection and Reporting (23)
7 The Inspectorate in Wales (28)
Appendices (35)

The text of HMI Today and Tomorrow was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 6 August 2017.

HMI Today and Tomorrow (1970)

London: Department of Education and Science 1970
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

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1 Introduction and Historical Survey

Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools are so called to preserve historic continuity and because the title reflects that measure of independence which they have always exercised. Their title does not accurately or comprehensively describe their present function; more than one-fifth of their number do not work in or in connection with schools. Who are they? What do they do? How and why do they do it?

HM Inspectors are a body of men and women who are ultimately answerable to the Secretary of State for Education and Science. They may well be given direct instructions by him. Their appointment is made on his recommendation. They constitute a small force of professional public servants, first put at the disposal of the executive by an Order of the Queen in Council made 130 years ago.

It is the duty of inspectors, as of other civil servants, to assist the central government in discharging the responsibilities that successive parliaments have laid upon it. It has become accepted, however, that whatever instructions they receive, their professional status and advisory function should not be impaired. There are therefore things which the Secretary of State would not wish, in the course of their duties, to instruct them to do.

There are about 400,000 full-time teachers in schools and further education establishments in England and Wales. There are several thousands of administrators, organisers, advisers and others concerned with education. HM Inspectorate is a small component of a very large public service. In England there are 496 inspectors and there are 47 inspectors in Wales.*

Controversial Issues

The earliest inspectors (there were two of them) owed their salaries to the House of Commons, their existence to an ingenious executive act of a Whig government. From 1833 onwards an annual sum of 20,000 had been provided 'for the purposes of education' by a vote in Supply which needed no confirmation from the House of Lords - an implacable enemy of state aid and interference. The Treasury shared out this sum between the two national voluntary societies which were then building and conducting schools. In 1839 by Order in Council a special Committee of the Privy Council was appointed to administer the money. The House of Lords protested and a hostile motion in the Commons was defeated by no more than 5 votes.

*A brief account of HM Inspectorate in Wales is given in Chapter VII.

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Nevertheless the Committee was set up and with it a permanent staff - Dr. Kay (later Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth) as Secretary, the Revd. Mr. Allen and Mr. Tremenheere as HM Inspectors of Schools.

The allocation of state funds to assist elementary education and the consequent appointment of officials to supervise expenditure produced what might now seem inordinate excitement, suspicion and distrust. Macaulay's famous speech in the Commons, delivered in an education debate of 1847, provides part of the explanation. In it he quoted HM Inspector's report on the scarcity and incompetence of the schools in Monmouthshire and asked the question - is it inconsistent with civil and religious freedom that the state should take charge of the education of the people? This question had to be argued because many dissenters thought that something dangerous was happening or was about to happen. The Established Church, at least at the extreme logical extension of its views, showed no less animus against state intervention. All this opposition occurred despite the fact that, from its inception, the inspectorate had been instructed 'to contribute ... to the improvement of the work, to encourage local effort and not to offer any advice except where it is invited'.

Inspectors and Educational Development

The part played by HM Inspectorate in the development of public education in the 19th century is a question much discussed by historians. In education, as in various other matters of health and welfare, the central government gradually extended its authority making the duties of the local bodies in authority obligatory rather than permissive, insisting on compliance with its regulations and using its grants as a means of securing such compliance. In so doing a corps of inspectors was called into being and also the skeletal structure of what might be called a scientific civil service. A modern historian, W. L. Burn, has noted the importance of these 19th century public servants. 'Its members' he writes 'did not interest themselves in certain things simply because they were servants of the state; rather they were interested in these things, because they had formed opinions which an official position allowed them to translate into action. Paradoxically the state acted through men who were themselves highly individualistic'.

Between 1859 and 1864 there was a series of parliamentary debates on the inspectors' annual report and on the relationship between the Committee of the Privy Council for Education and the inspectors. From these a convention emerged under which the Council's right to withhold publication of a report was accepted, but the practice of altering or censoring reports was denounced and in fact abandoned.

The effect on the inspectorate of the Revised Code of 1861 was profound and to many disquieting. For nearly 30 years some part of the grants paid to school authorities was made dependent on the individual examination of children by HM Inspector or his assistant. The nature and content of elementary education remained circumscribed by the effects of the Revised Code for many years, but education

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was offered on an enormously enlarged scale as a result of the Act of 1870. The public elementary school dates from that Act which directed that such a school must be open at all times to Her Majesty's Inspector (though it was specifically stated that to enquire into or to examine religious teaching was no part of his duty). Nevertheless the inspector's annual visit to every school on a prescribed day continued until 1895. By that time the subjects taught in elementary schools had increased; training colleges, night schools and higher grade schools had greatly extended the work of the inspectorate. Finally the Education Act of 1902 created the framework within which modern education has developed. Extensive powers over elementary and higher education thence - forward devolved upon the Local Education Authorities.

Size and Organisation

There had been 82 H.M.I.s in 1871; by 1902 there appear to have been no fewer than 409 central government inspectors of education. The twenty-three inspectors and thirty-three junior inspectors of the Science and Art Department at South Kensington had been incorporated into HM Inspectorate in 1901. They became the inspectorate's Technological Branch from which emerged the present body of inspectors concerned with further education.

In 1922 the size of the English inspectorate was 383. The grade of Staff Inspector with national responsibility for a certain type of work had been introduced. Assistant inspectors, appointed first in the 1860s, continued to perform their duties in the Elementary Education Branch. A reorganisation took place in the late 20s and early 30s as a result of which the inspectorate emerged as a more co-ordinated body. The post of Senior Chief Inspector was instituted and a Divisional Inspector was made responsible for organising the work of the inspectorate as a whole in each territorial division.

It was not, however, until 1944 that the separate branches and the grade of Assistant Inspector in the Elementary Branch were finally abolished. From the end of the war the inspectorate began to grow and its numbers had reached 527 by 1949. This was the result of the great increase of educational provision brought about by the Education Act of 1944. The tendency since 1956 had been for numbers to fall slightly in spite of the fact that the range of responsibility has increased, particularly in Further Education. The organisation and structure remain very much as established soon after the Butler Act. With the passage of that Act it became the Minister's (later the Secretary of State's) duty 'to cause inspections to be made of every educational establishment'. This includes colleges of education, all establishments of further education, the youth service and the 3,300 independent schools in England.

The Standpoint of the Inspectorate

The object of this brief incursion into the history of the inspectorate is first to emphasise that the inspectorate has remained a small body in relation to the basic work it is required to do - 'the inspection of all educational establishments'. Secondly the inspectorate acts in the confidence that a long tradition of independence has given it

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the right to speak its mind on educational issues. It recognises the right of its employer not to listen to its words, not to publish its writings, but would insist on the established privilege that what it does say or write should reflect the independent free judgment of an individual or of a professional group. Everything seems to indicate that this particular privilege of the inspectorate is the significant one in the eyes of others who work in the field of education.

The third point which emerges is the growing diversity of the inspector's work over a period of nearly 100 years. It is not merely that public education as a service has immensely extended its size and range in this period. There is the additional factor that the process of education itself has come to be regarded as something very much more complex, very much more deeply sunk into the social and psychological makeup of those who receive it; and thus immeasurably more demanding as an assignment for one seeking a sound basis on which to make judgments or to give advice. Apart altogether from the growing sophistication that surrounds such subjects as the teaching of reading or physical recreative activities, there is now a body of knowledge about the process of education drawn from the disciplines of psychology and sociology, from systems analysis and curricular evaluation, as much as from history and philosophy.

These are changes which have already affected the role of the inspectorate and which must continue to do so. An increasing amount of its time is spent in working together with others who serve in education and play their part in innovation, reform and future planning. Many, but not all of these, are practising teachers. The inspectorate takes part in the public debate on education and has to establish contacts, to acquire and to share information, not only with teachers, but with many other parties to the educational process. It is increasingly called on to advise those who are working on the social, industrial and technological problems which now impinge on education.

Neither teachers nor inspectors can assume the right to determine educational ends. These are issues which ultimately society itself has to decide. They can, however, acquire some expert knowledge of the means and of how to apply them. But to do so effectively requires them, besides cultivating habits of observation and study, to participate in discussion and to open channels of communication within the profession to which they belong and beyond it. The inspectorate together with many others, employed by LEAs, universities and colleges or linked in membership of associations and societies, helps to accumulate and to sift the evidence and so to provide those who need it with the foundations on which to make reasonable decisions.

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2 Organisation and Deployment

Of the 496 inspectors in England, about 30 work at the headquarters of the Department, six are seconded to the Schools Council, one to the Centre for Curriculum Renewal and Educational Development Overseas and one to the Central Youth Employment Executive; at any given time another six are likely to be working overseas under arrangements made by the Ministry of Overseas Development. Several more will be on service abroad, either inspecting educational provision for service personnel and for their families, participating in international conferences, courses and committees, or studying particular subjects or aspects of education in a foreign country. The rest are distributed over this country with duties assigned to them in one of the 9 territorial divisions. They will move at least once and probably more often during their period of service. (See Appendix I.)

Senior Inspectors

The Senior Chief Inspector is responsible for the activities of the inspectorate as a whole and for expressing its corporate views. The assignment of inspectors to their various duties is his responsibility. He and six chief inspectors deal jointly with matters concerning the whole education system outside the universities. Each chief inspector has a special responsibility for an aspect of education. Three are concerned mainly with the work of the schools. Two are concerned with further education in all its variety and one with the training of teachers. The 57 staff inspectors generally carry responsibility on a national basis for a particular subject or sector of the educational field and playa part in formulating policy. (See Appendix I.)

The 9 divisional inspectors also play a part in formulating the policy of the inspectorate and each is responsible for its implementation in his division. In consultation with chief inspectors and staff inspectors, they arrange the territorial assignment of each inspector and they supervise the training of those who have recently joined. They advise their colleagues, initiate projects and encourage enterprise. When necessary they express the collective views of the inspectorate and of the Department within their division. They may also participate in the discussions and activities of a number of regional bodies. Most staff inspectors have also a representative function. In the case of the regional staff inspectors for further education, this is clearly defined and involves close contact with the Regional Councils for Further Education. Staff inspectors, responsible for subjects or for phases of education, maintain relationships with appropriate professional bodies and with the

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Schools Council. Their advice, in which is reflected the views of their specialist colleagues, is always available to the Department, and to others who seek it.

It is important to note that these are duties which no inspector is likely to discharge unless he has considerable experience of working in the field with a normal territorial and specialist assignment. They are offices which continue to involve their holders in making visits to schools and taking part in discussion with teachers and administrators. Indeed, most divisional and staff inspectors retain inspection duties in specific schools or colleges and the staff inspectors travel particularly widely, both in order to keep in touch with every kind of thought and development that affects their subject and to maintain contact with those colleagues who have local responsibility for it.

General and Specialist Inspection

For the most part the main body of inspectors work either in schools or in further education and their first responsibility is to possess a general knowledge of the particular institutions allotted to them. These may be schools, colleges of education, polytechnics, further education colleges or adult education institutes. Some of these establishments will lie close to their homes, others may be a considerable distance away. In this way each school in the country, each college, institute and youth centre is the concern of an inspector. He is expected to give what help and advice he can to the institution he visits and it is his responsibility to bring in colleagues with special knowledge when it might be useful to do so. The task of the general inspector, trying to become aware of every aspect of the school's life and work, is a demanding one. It calls for no lesser expertise than that of the subject specialist. Though it may now absorb on average somewhat less of the inspector's time than it once did, it remains central to his office.

In his turn an inspector is required to act as a specialist in schools and colleges assigned to others as general inspectors. Almost every inspector has to perform these two main roles. In his capacity as a specialist he may wish to visit schools to acquaint himself with the state of a particular subject or of developing trends in a phase of education. It is important that he should see good work. He will naturally work in close collaboration with the general inspector. His assessment and advice needs to be set in the context of the general inspector's knowledge of the school in the round. All specialist inspectors endeavour to give as much help as they can to the specialist teachers they meet. They are also concerned to discuss their impressions, whether of a subject or phase of education, with the head of the school or head of department.

District Inspectors

A considerable number of inspectors are required to function in a third sphere of responsibility, and in this they are known as District Inspectors. The attachment of an inspector to a 'district' is a practice established over a hundred years ago. Today the word serves a different purpose, and the concept of a district inspector is associated with the maintenance of contact between the Department and the Local Education Authority.

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In some areas the schools and colleges will be distributed amongst a number of inspectors (5 for instance in Devonshire, 7 in the County Borough of Leeds). Two of them are designated district inspectors, one for schools and one for further education. By assuming these district responsibilities the inspector does not forfeit his independent standpoint. He does not usurp the function of the administrator in the headquarters of the Department who has to settle each LEA's claim on the building programme and other administrative questions. He tries to act as an intermediary, interpreting the views of the LEA to the Department and giving such guidance as he can on the rules and policies of the Department to the officers of the LEA. Above all, he has to use his local knowledge, his regular contacts with the LEA officials and their schools, so that he can judge local needs and problems and advise his colleagues in the Department accordingly. His role in relation both to the Department and to the LEA is purely advisory. His knowledge and that of his colleagues is at the disposal of both parties. Both understand this and make demands on it at their own discretion. But the officers of the Department keep the district inspector informed on developments that affect his district. Evidence suggests that Chief Education Officers appreciate the fact that the administrative decisions taken by the Department will be influenced by the advice which reaches the administrators from the district inspector, and that they attach importance to this.

Functional Teams

There is one other aspect of the organisation of the inspectorate to be described the means by which its members are incorporated into functional teams to pursue particular objectives. There is a network of inspectorial responsibility for general knowledge about educational institutions and this is arranged on a geographical basis. There is a second network designed to co-ordinate information and experience in respect of curricular subjects and identifiable phases or features of educational practice. The staff inspectors are central to this web of study and communication. Obtaining their authority from the chief inspector within whose area of responsibility their work lies, they incorporate their specialist colleagues into working groups. Thus a new inspector, qualified in music or educational technology, or the teaching of handicapped children, is soon likely to find himself a member of a standing committee or panel, generally under the chairmanship of a staff inspector, designed to keep under review the needs and developments, and indeed to promote new thought and experiment, in the subject or area of education with which it is concerned. These panels and committees are constituted on a national basis, supported by regional or divisional groups; they draw their members from the subject or phase specialists who have been distributed over the country as a whole, including inspectors from Wales, and sometimes from Scotland and N. Ireland.

Another type of functional team, which it has been customary for many years to create, is that necessary to conduct the inspection of a school or college, or to survey a particular problem or feature of educational practice. These teams can be recruited either on a national or divisional basis according to the nature of the exercise.

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It remains important that the inspectorate should be able to act in this way, making its own objective studies and assessments of individual schools and colleges and transmitting the results to the Department and to the appropriate local governing authorities. But the inspectorate has also to respond to other important demands on its services and these have been increasing. This has led to individual inspectors or small working groups being relieved of traditional duties in order to acquire specialist knowledge of a particular kind or to work on a development project at home or abroad. In order to provide effective advice to the Architects and Building Branch of the Department at least two inspectors have been giving this aspect of education their full attention for some years. Educational Technology, the use of the mass media and of teaching aids, is another aspect out of which the same type of demands arise. The problems connected with the management and organisation of large educational institutions require scientific study and it is therefore necessary for members of the inspectorate to be thoroughly familiar with the theoretical structure on which such studies can be based, as well as with the practical implications of their findings, if they are to give a lead. Several inspectors have been nominated to a central group concerned with this field. They give a substantial part of their time to collecting information on the organisation and management of schools, to exchanging views with teachers, administrators and others interested in this subject and to working out ideas which may be useful to heads and senior staff.

Range of Contacts

These are matters which may require the services of only a limited number of inspectors. There are others in which the whole body of the inspectorate is involved, such as the in-service training of teachers, and the reform of the curriculum.

Inspectors, as subject or phase specialists, give time to the study of ideas and opinions which have currency in their particular field and may influence educational practice. An inspector who is a modern linguist, for instance, is in contact not only with his fellow specialists in the inspectorate, but with those he meets in schools, colleges and universities. Some of these contacts will be with teachers and scholars abroad. Together with his own experience and his reading, these contacts provide what it takes to give reliable and authoritative advice on language teaching either to the Department or to teachers.

The professional competence of an inspector depends on his acquaintance with scholarship and research but even more on his access to the full range of what is going on. If inspectors were cut off from their contacts with independent schools or with polytechnics, the corporate service of the inspectorate to the Department and to teachers would be that much less effective than it is now. If inspectors ceased to be concerned and familiar with the work of colleges of education or of the industries in which further education students will be employed, their value as inspectors would be reduced.

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3 Selection and Training


Inspectors are appointed to serve as the professional advisers of a government department. The manner of appointment therefore follows the normal pattern for this category of public servant, except in one respect - that each is appointed by Order in Council. The title of Her Majesty's Inspector and the formal appointment by the Crown still serve as a recognition of the limited but important degree to which the inspectorate is independent of the executive.

Public advertisement announces vacancies; a scrutiny of applications and testimonials takes place and finally a number of candidates are interviewed by a selection board, presided over by a member or representative of the Civil Service Commission. It is the Civil Service Commission which issues the Certificate of Qualification without which no civil servant can be appointed. The board also includes the Senior Chief Inspector, a representative of the Department's Establishments Branch, the appropriate specialist and other senior inspectors.

The inspectorate recruits both men and women. One of its main difficulties in recruitment is the service requirement as to place of residence and the amount of travelling involved. As with others who appoint to posts of educational responsibility a particular difficulty is experienced over the recruitment of women.


The advertisement of vacancies usually indicates the special knowledge and experience which is being sought. Some years of successful teaching experience is normally expected of a candidate, but a right to appoint candidates without teaching qualifications is reserved. Experience of more than one type of school may be important. A number of inspectors, both of schools and further education, have had experience overseas. An inspector needs some knowledge of the educational system as a whole. In appointments made in the field of primary and secondary education alone, an extensive variety of specialist knowledge and experience has to be found. Recruits with knowledge of new or comparatively new developments, such as the comprehensive school, or computer science, may be particularly wanted.

Most candidates appointed to work in further education have been previously employed as principals, heads of department or senior lecturers in colleges. Some will have worked in adult education or in the youth service. Many will have had experience in industry, commerce or public administration. A growing number of

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subjects and skills are taught in further education establishments. Some are related to the professions, some to the public services and a great many, including a range of craft subjects, to the worlds of industry, commerce, art and design. The problem of obtaining expertise in so many subject areas combined with teaching and industrial experience is particularly severe in further education.

For both schools and further education it is necessary to recruit inspectors who combine teaching ability and a wide range of experience with appropriate qualifications mirroring those of the best teachers in their field. There are important areas in which the qualifications of the most gifted are not normally university or graduate qualifications and indeed nearly a quarter of the inspectors are not university graduates. For similar reasons many inspectors have graduate qualifications and some have higher degrees or research experience. Whatever the inspector's initial qualifications, he has to come to terms with the fact that in every phase and sector of education specialist knowledge is growing in importance. Readiness to confront and examine research findings and current theory is an asset for all inspectors and essential for many.

Outlook and Adaptability

The inspectorate has to be a well-balanced body, incorporating various kinds of experience and covering every aspect of education. It is thus rare for a man or woman under the age of thirty to be appointed. The average age of entry is at present 41 years. A rapid expansion in numbers which occurred just after the war has made the present a peak period for retirement. In the last four years some hundred and thirty new inspectors have taken up their posts. This has focused attention on provision for the induction and in-service training of inspectors.

Things that are extremely difficult to assess, such as the outlook and temperament of the candidate, are perhaps of special importance in recruitment. However distinguished the record of a candidate he will have to adjust himself to new conditions and to do this at a relatively mature age. This is required of anyone who sets out to learn a new - and in this case a somewhat complex - job. The sense of identity with a close-knit educational community may be lost for a time and so may the sense of authority with which an experienced teacher goes about his work. Authority may eventually be restored but it will not then be the authority deriving from the office held; its growth will depend on the capacity to learn and its nature will be closer to the authority of a scholar than to that of an executive. Furthermore it will be as much a collective as an individual authority. In much of his work an inspector reflects the opinions and convictions of others, both those of his colleagues and of enlightened and creative teachers whose work he has observed.

These considerations affect appointments as do considerations of stamina and adaptability. An inspector's work involves the need to travel at all seasons and to appear at his best with those for whom his visit is generally an infrequent event and often seen as an important one. Although he is under guidance for a time and in fact serves a period of a year's probation, he has to accept some measure of respon-

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sibility from the outset and some of this may be in connection with work that is almost new to him.

Probation and Training

The inspector's period of probation is not a formality. While it lasts his aptitude and suitability for the work are given serious attention, and he himself has the opportunity to discover whether he is likely to find the job satisfying. His divisional inspector and an experienced colleague, engaged on the type of work he is likely to do, plan his early programme. Some of his time will be spent on visits made with that particular colleague, but he is also given the opportunity to see other aspects of education and to be with inspectors working in different fields from his own. It may not be possible to learn a great deal in the short period of time in which introductions of this kind can be made, but such experience will help him to grasp the variety of expertise deployed in education. He will also have the opportunity to apply his specialist experience to unfamiliar environments. A sixth-form history master, for example, will be obliged to re-examine his subject in the light of the needs of 9-year olds or 16-year old Pakistanis. A principal lecturer teaching economics and allied subjects to degree level in a polytechnic may find himself considering the problems of teaching these subjects in secondary schools. In these varied situations an inspector will not always feel at home, let alone useful. The early months of his career can be both bewildering and stimulating.

Research, new thinking and new development in education today proceed at a rapid pace. The inspector like the teacher or administrator must keep up as best he can. He bas help and advice within reach and he will attend short courses and conferences, sometimes arranged in conjunction with universities or colleges, dealing with various kinds of new development in education. Time is, however, his greatest enemy.

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4 The Inspector at Work (1) Schools and Colleges

Acquiring Knowledge

The first charge on an inspector's time is that it should be spent where teaching is taking place or amongst people who are engaged on administering, organising or supervising the educational process. He therefore visits schools, colleges, and education offices; he will sit on committees and attend meetings, be present at teachers' conferences and courses and engage in frequent discussions with his fellow inspectors. On all these occasions he may be able to give something to others - counsel, advice, encouragement. But what is of equal importance is that he should take away something for himself. An inspector's role places heavy emphasis on co-operation. He learns to value the authority and expertise of others, to appreciate the limitations of his own ideas and experience and to evaluate the distinctive contribution made by various types of specialist knowledge.

An inspection team visiting a secondary school may well contain members whose training and direct experience of education have 'been related to primary school standards, practices and ideals. One of the assets of the inspectorate is that knowledge and insight derived from primary school experience can be brought to bear on problems connected with the early years of the secondary stage. Similarly there are available for college of education visits inspectors with knowledge of primary school work, secondary school work, the work of other colleges of education and of universities.

An inspector may still work on his own quite frequently, but the same capacity to absorb the thoughts of others and so modify his own judgments and opinions will characterise his relationships with those who teach. His basic duty is to know as much as he can about what they are trying to do. No-one is going to know it all. How much is going to be known to the inspecting observer depends on the skills he has acquired and the sensitivity of his approach to a delicate situation. A dislike expressed for the term 'inspector' by teachers' organisations is shared by many of those employed to inspect. There is nothing wrong with the word other than the occasional effect it may have of making the delicate situation in which a relationship has to be established more delicate than it might otherwise be; but that is enough. How otherwise might it be? Adviser, consultant, visitor, observer, field officer - none of these seems an entirely satisfactory alternative, but perhaps one of them may eventually prove to be so. If the inspector is observing the teacher, it is equally true that the teacher is observing the inspector and so indeed are the pupils. Having been a teacher himself,

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the inspector should have no difficulty in appreciating the character of the teacher's job. It is more difficult for the teacher (or pupil) to recognise the inspector's function and the conditions necessary to its performance.

Inspection Procedure

A working relationship is unlikely to develop between the teacher and the inspector unless an explanation of the latter's presence in the school or classroom is understood. The inspector calls no longer in fulfilment of a schedule drawn up in a government office. His visit bas no ritual significance and involves none of the old economic sanctions. The legal explanation of his act derives from the Secretary of State's duty to cause inspection to be made. This is not, however, what governs the inspector's plans. As a general inspector he has received a list of schools referred to as 'his assignment' and he enters one of 'his' schools to observe what is going on there. From these observations and enquiries he tries to build up a general knowledge of the schools assigned to him and a particular knowledge of each school. He needs both because circumstances are almost sure to arise in which he will be asked for information not about individual teachers but about the standards of work, the teaching methods and the general achievements of the school or perhaps about details of its accommodation and equipment.

It is of the utmost importance to the inspector's work that everyone he sees in the school should have an accurate knowledge of what lies behind his visit. The explanation can be plainly stated - he is seeking information and if it ties within his power he wants to help. If the visit is intended to occupy a whole day, he will probably have discussed his plans beforehand by letter or by telephone. A short visit or one to an institution where he is already well known may be unheralded.

Relations With Teachers

Working relationships between teachers and inspectors depend on the recognition of the professional status of each. The inspector has a function to perform and he considers beforehand the particular purpose he has in mind when visiting a school. In a primary school he may want to assess progress in reading or observe the effects of vertical grouping. In a secondary school he may want to study the use made of the library or to form a picture of the social and recreational side of the school's life. If a formal lesson is to take place he will probably wish simply to sit and listen. If pupils are working on their own he may, with the teacher's agreement, seize the opportunity to discuss their work with them as it proceeds.

The intrusion of a stranger into the teaching situation can produce a certain element of strain. A tendency to embarrassment can affect both teacher and inspector. The latter is the more used to this situation and it is thus generally right that the initiative in an attempt to ease it should come from his side. But he will certainly want to go on to discuss the teacher's general aims and methods. If he has no claim to be a specialist he will not disguise the fact. His reflections on the work may lead him to suggest the visit of a specialist - either a fellow H.M.I. or an inspector or adviser of the LEA. If so he will mention this to the teacher.

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The inspector does not judge a teacher; his concern is to assess the quality of the work in progress. To do this he must be able to relate what he sees, not only to the teaching method employed but also to the school's environment. He must also relate the work to circumstances inside the school, to the range of ability in the classroom, to any shortcomings of the buildings or site, to relevant equipment shortages and to the experience and possibly the health of individual teachers. Inevitably, however, there are occasions when an inspector may comment on weaknesses of a particular teaching method. His aim then is neither to record nor to reprimand but to advise and to encourage. However narrow the distinction, an inspector's assessment relates to the standard of work as a whole, not to that of the individual teacher.

Group Visits

So far a routine visit by a single inspector has been described and what has been written applies as much to further education as it does to schools, except that a visit to a college of further education, an adult education institute or a unit of the Youth Service, may take place in the evening.

Group visits may be organised in an informal manner, but they generally require considerable preparation, whether they are for a full inspection or for some other purpose. It is normal for the general inspector to inform the head that he would like to make a visit on a suitable day and that he will be accompanied by one or more specialist colleagues, wishing to see the work in specific subjects. Group visits may also be made in connection with a surveyor study of some particular development in the curriculum, organisation or pattern of work. The intention to conduct such a study will already have been discussed with the Local Education Authority and its inspectors or organisers may be co-operating in it. Schools will have been informed of what is planned and probably called upon to supply information in advance.

The number of inspectors visiting a particular school clearly depends on the subject of the inquiry. If, for instance, it is into the work of the first year of a secondary school or into the complete programme of C.S.E. courses, a number of subject specialists will be concerned. If on the other hand the study is of the teaching of a particular subject - Primary French or Home Economics - the survey may be carried out by the specialist alone. The particular school may be selected on the recommendation of the general inspector or it may be drawn from a random sample or its inclusion may arise from its geographical location. In some surveys considerable numbers of schools have been involved.


Inspections and surveys, designed to study situations and the work of schools and colleges in some depth, must involve a process of collecting information and of observing work in progress. This will be organised under the leadership of one or more inspectors acting as the staff officers in the operation and responsible for drafting a final document if there is to be one. In such a document the individual contributions of the inspection team will be embodied and these will be based on what each member has observed from the angle of his specialist knowledge and

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experience. An appreciation of the general balance and direction of the work must be reconciled with the specialist's close attention to detailed examination of achievement in his own particular subject. Many subjects are taught in a large secondary school and still more in a large technical college. Yet the achievement of a school or college may be something more than the sum of the achievement in separate subjects. Some of the work breaks out of traditional categories - business studies for instance in a college, general studies in the sixth form, environmental studies in a primary school. Although teaching over large sectors of the front is in the hands of specialists, co-operation between teachers has developed not only within departments but across the boundaries of the subject disciplines.

The inspectorate also has to achieve co-operation and resolve the conflicts that arise between specialist opinions and a general understanding of ultimate objectives.


It remains certain, however, that specialist teachers, whether of music or metallurgy, value the advice and comment of a visitor who is himself a student of their subject, has taught it and is engaged on assessing standards and observing performance over a wide area. Educational specialisations multiply and thus the inspectorate increasingly tends to become a body of specialists. As a specialist an inspector shares with the teachers he meets a knowledge of the subject being taught as well as general experience of pupils and the teaching process. This intensifies the professional relationship. The teacher has the advantage of being actively engaged in teaching the subject. The inspector for his part has certain assets. It is probable that his understanding of educational principles and of the social and psychological factors that influence learning has been enriched by his experience of different situations and different methods of teaching generally, and in particular of the subject which has the greatest interest for him. He will have discussed the problems involved with many teachers not only when visiting schools in more than one part of the country, but at courses and conferences. He will have discussed such questions with other inspectors, and perhaps assisted the work of examining bodies, research teams and committees concerned with method innovation and curriculum development in his special subject.

The inspector as a specialist may have formed firm convictions about his 'subject'. He may have precise views about what is valuable in it and how to bring out these values in its teaching. Like the teacher he should be imbued with a genuine desire to impart to others what he himself believes to be true and important. But he is not propagandist. He is not required to promulgate a doctrine or to conduct a campaign on behalf of any particular method or approach. If he does so he is acting only on his own behalf and he possesses only such authority as he may have acquired as an individual.

The inspector's advice is no more than advice; it is not his duty to force his views on the school or on its staff; his criticism should be understood in the first meaning that a dictionary attaches to the word - the analysis or review of a work - and not in

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its second sense of unfavourable opinion. The inspector's aim is to help those whom he meets. He may do this by passing on information, perhaps about books, apparatus, methods and work programmes. He may be able in discussion to help a teacher to clarify his thoughts, and even to identify new objectives. The teacher remains free to choose the course of action that appears to him the best.

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5 The Inspector at Work (2) Service to Other Bodies

Written Work

An inspector's task includes writing as well as watching and talking. This has always been an important and time-consuming element in his work, but if his function is to collect and to hold information, it is obviously proper that demands for its dissemination should be made on him. If they were not, his contribution would be sadly reduced.

His written work is not confined to the production of reports. He is involved in a considerable correspondence with his colleagues, with the Department's officers, with local education authorities, with teachers in the schools or colleges and with other educational bodies. He also has to record for future reference the impressions he receives and the observations made when he visits schools and colleges. Much correspondence and the writing of papers may arise from his membership of committees, panels and working parties, and also from his task of organising teachers' courses and from invitations to address, or otherwise to participate in, courses and conferences sponsored by others.

Serving the Department

In addition to his reports and any other information that he submits to the Department on his own initiative, the inspector has to supply its officials with written comments and advice in response to their requests. These to many inspectors are numerous and relate to various matters on which their experience in the field has given them knowledge. Educational development in all its variety and at all points in the system from nursery schools to advanced technology involves constant administrative decisions on particular cases. The inspectorate is one source of guidance available to the Department and thus references are constantly made to individual inspectors. Sometimes information is required which the inspector may be in a position to supply from his existing knowledge. Sometimes he may need to visit a school or college or an education office. Sometimes it is his professional comments on a proposed further education course which is sought. The annual building programmes submitted by each LEA and the plans submitted for secondary re-organisation are examples of matters on which the comments of the appropriate district inspector are needed. It is likely that he will already have been consulted by the chief education officer concerned and he will be familiar with local circumstances.

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On matters related to other L.EA. proposals and projects the district inspector, the general inspector for the school or college, or the divisional specialist inspector for the subject or phase of education may be the point at which the Department taps the pipe-line of inspectorial knowledge.

Serving Other Bodies

The duty of the inspectorate is to help the local education authority as well as the Department. Many authorities employ their own inspectors and advisers and in most cases close links have been established between them and HM Inspectors. The local authority inspectorate may well possess a more intimate knowledge of the work of schools in their area but H.M.l.s can generally contribute from a wider view of educational practice as a whole throughout the country. It is important that each group should recognise the distinctive experience and qualifications of the other and so work out the best basis for constructive co-operation. They share an awareness that progress can result only from the free acceptance of new ideas and the spread of conviction about their practical validity. Thus in some areas the two kinds of inspector are frequently associated in courses for teachers and in discussion about the work of schools and colleges.

A considerable number of inspectors also respond to requests for help from other official and indeed from unofficial bodies concerned with education. All studies conducted by the Central Advisory Council leading to full-scale reports, such as those associated with the names of Crowther, Newsom or Plowden, have involved members of the inspectorate in a great deal of writing. Other committees of enquiry are set up from time to time by the Secretary of State or one of the Ministers. Sometimes the organisation of such enquiries is allocated to the inspectorate; its advice is invariably sought. The inspectorate contributes substantially to the work of the Schools Council. It has supplied the council with one of its joint secretaries and several other inspectors have been associated, both part-time and full-time, with some of its projects. Many inspectors are involved in the council's work through committee membership.

The assistance of inspectors has been at the disposal of Regional Planning Boards, Area Training Organisations, the Certificate of Secondary Education Examining Boards and the National Foundation for Educational Research from their inception. Government departments other than the DES also ask for help. Inspectors are employed at home and abroad on various undertakings in which their specialist knowledge is considered useful, for example by the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Employment and Productivity, and the Department of Health and Social Security. The unofficial organisations which constantly call on the inspectorate for help are too numerous to detail. Inspectors do what they can to assist the efforts of teachers, parents and others concerned with developments in general, with teaching method and with the promotion of new thought on the subjects of the curriculum. They speak by invitation and take part in discussion at private and public gatherings where people are concerned about education.

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Further Education

The rapid and diversified development of further education has caused the Department to rely heavily on inspectors engaged in that sector. References to them are numerous on the general pattern of provision, on particular courses, on building projects and the purchase of major items of equipment. The seven regional staff inspectors carry a type of responsibility which is not paralleled elsewhere in the inspectorate. The initiation of all advanced courses in further education establishments requires the approval of the Department. An essential part of this process is that inspectors in the light of their discussions with colleges, LEAs and the regional advisory councils should contribute their considered observations and recommendations. The final decision on approval rests with the regional staff inspector. He takes into account the national provision in the courses concerned, together with the local and the specialist advice received from other inspectors. The numbers of students on advanced courses is also reviewed by the inspectorate from time to time.

The growth and development of further education and the distribution of courses are matters which further education inspectors are constantly discussing with colleges and the LEAs. They must take into consideration the effective utilisation of economic resources and give what help they can in relation to staffing, buildings, equipment and the developing pattern of the work. They communicate their views to the Department often through the regional staff inspector who builds up a picture of all developments and needs in his region.

To an even greater extent than in the work of schools, further education inspectors are associated with committees whose decisions affect the colleges. These include the National and Regional Advisory Councils, the Examining Bodies, the Professional Institutions, the National Joint Committees, the Industrial Training Boards, the Council for National Academic Awards and many others. Inspectors provide guidance, advice and suggestions to a great many of these committees whose decisions may be far-reaching. In non-vocational further education and the youth service inspectors are charged with somewhat similar responsibilities. Their local and specialist knowledge is enlisted by the Department in order that informed decisions can be made. Their advice is also at the disposal of local education authorities, the Responsible Bodies for adult education and a host of voluntary organisations concerned with social, recreational and educational provision for the community. Many of these bodies are aided by grants from the Department on the advice of inspectors and the inspectorate is represented on many of their training and development committees.

The Inspector as Consultant

In the work that has been described the output of the inspectorate takes the form of minutes, memoranda and papers written for committees and working parties as well as of participation in discussion. In many cases an inspector is writing or acting as a representative of the Department, but he is recognised as deriving his authority

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from the expert knowledge he possesses and this gives him the right to exercise a certain independence of judgment. Administrative decisions may be influenced by what he has written or what he has to say. He contributes to the formation of policy within the Department and outside. He offers his help as a consultant and an adviser solely on the basis of what he knows about the issues that have to be settled. He is not alone in possessing experience and knowledge of those issues, but his contribution appears to be valued mainly because it is generally accepted as being informed and disinterested. Like the advice of a consultant in industry that of the inspectorate comes from a detached and uncommitted source.

Courses for Teachers

On behalf of the Department the inspectorate organises and carries out an expanding programme of courses for teachers in England and Wales. Most last from five to fourteen days and take place mainly in school or college vacations. In 1954 there were 64 of these courses; in 1968/9 175 were conducted and this figure continues to rise. Over 10,000 teachers and others will be attending the Department's short courses in the current year. They come from educational institutions of all types including the independent schools and voluntary youth organisations. They may include parents, teachers from overseas, administrators and representatives from industry, commerce and government agencies.

The main programme is divided into certain broad categories - courses for primary school teachers, for secondary school teachers and for teachers in establishments of further education including non-vocational adult education and the youth service. There is, however, a considerable overlap between these categories. In the present programme a series of mathematics courses, for instance, is designed to explore the learning of the subject through the age range nine to sixteen. These are arranged at five different points in the country to attract applications from every LEA area and so to offer a course not too far from home to all teachers for whom accommodation can be found. Other courses, such as those on poetry, music and drama, on programmed learning, immigrant pupils, health education and the school library, are designed for teachers in all types of school.

Three smaller divisions of the programme need to be mentioned - the courses for teachers concerned with special educational treatment, including the education of the blind and the deaf, the courses on school administration for heads and others and the courses (often conducted in co-operation with the appropriate section or panel of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education) for lecturers in colleges of education.

Many courses are conducted in the style of a conference and in all the exchange of ideas and experience is emphasised. Practical work in the field or in the laboratory, study groups and individual "work are normal elements in most of the courses. Their object is not simply to examine and to discuss teaching methods but rather to draw attention to advances in the study of particular subjects and provide points of contact between teachers and leading authorities. Thus the help of experts from

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within the teaching force, including many university teachers, and from various other sources, is enlisted.

This branch of the work makes heavy demands on the inspectorate. Its importance and the satisfaction it seems to provide are clearly appreciated both by teachers and by inspectors. The contribution of the inspectorate to in-service training is not confined to the Department's own programme of courses and conferences. Inspectors play some part in the programme of vacation courses organised by universities, colleges and institutes of education. They are more frequently engaged on local and regional courses conducted by the LEAs, by teachers' organisations and, in further education, by the regional advisory councils.


Members of the inspectorate write on educational topics for outside publications as well as for those sponsored by the Department. They are not free to write text books but may write for the educational press and take part in radio and television broadcasts. Within their own subject fields they can, of course, contribute both to popular and to 'learned' journals. In the same way inspectors who are artists, musicians, poets or critics may continue their work as practitioners at least to the extent that time, inspiration and ability allow. In these respects they are no different from other civil servants. The Department has planned a pattern of publications designed to serve the needs of teachers, administrators and others interested. A substantial share in carrying out this publication programme devolves upon the inspectorate.

A major activity of the inspectorate in the field of publications is the series of pamphlets on education issued by the Department. Almost all of these are produced by teams or panels of inspectors. They now cover most aspects of primary and secondary school work and there is a big sale for them. In some cases the 'pamphlets' are in fact books. Language, sub-titled 'Some suggestions for teachers of English and others' is a well-known example. One of the significant factors about that volume was the placing of a substantial central section which covers the teaching of English generally, but makes special reference to reading in primary schools and composition in secondary schools, between two more general chapters - one on the nature and function of language and one on literature. Sometimes the major existing pamphlets are revised extensively and re-issued, as is the case with Music in Schools (1956) of which a new expanded and freshly illustrated edition is on sale this year. Sometimes pamphlets are much shorter and designed to examine the case for innovation in a particular field and to deepen awareness of the issues involved. A recent example of this type of pamphlet which has attracted much attention is Towards World History (1967).

The publication of Educational Surveys is a more recent development. Five of these have now appeared and three are in preparation. Some are written by inspectors to present the public with an account of the general situation in a field of education or of recent developments in an important area such as the relations between parents and teachers in primary schools. These surveys may be quite substantial volumes

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which present the results of national surveys carried out by the inspectorate. The Department also issues short monthly reports on aspects of education and these may incorporate the findings of surveys or of conferences conducted by inspectors. Inspectors also contribute to the Department's three regular journals - Trends in Education, On Course, and Youth Service. The first of these is not restricted to any one aspect of education. It is a quarterly on sale to the public and has a rising circulation. The inspectors contribute numerous articles and reviews, most of which are written as personal statements by individuals but some summarise inspection surveys and other group enquiries. In Trends in Education the writing of inspectors can be read alongside that of teachers in all types of institution, administrators, research workers and other educationalists. This journal serves to emphasise the degree to which the inspectorate is now associated with others in the evaluation of educational development and the spread of information.

The inspectorate's contribution cannot now be seen in isolation or as confined to the one particular task of reporting on schools and colleges. It extends into the fields of research, organisation and curriculum planning, involving inspectors in close relationships with many other bodies.

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6 Future Inspection and Reporting

Changing Circumstances and Abiding Principles

The two main functions of the inspectorate through the years have been to keep the Minister, now Secretary of State, and his Department informed about the progress of education in England and Wales and to give help, through advice and discussion, to teachers in every type of institution visited, as well as to the officers of local education authorities.

Education today claims a larger share of national resources, in money, materials and manpower, than it has ever done. At the same time, it gives rise to questions and problems calling for policy decisions which can have far-reaching consequences, not only for the ever-increasing numbers of pupils and students, but also for the provision and development of other services, whose demands for material support compete with those of education.

Policy decisions depend for their validity on knowledge of material circumstances, including those in various localities, appraisal of the educational principles at stake, and insight into the effects which the decisions will have on people. It is important also for decision-makers to be able to forecast how the people involved are likely to react to the decisions. It follows that a Department which has a field force of its own observers enjoys a considerable advantage provided always that this force is enabled to assemble the information and make the assessments and judgments without which its advice to the Department would be, at the best, inadequate and, at the worst, misleading.

Public interest in educational issues and in the nature and quality of the education provided is becoming keener and more sophisticated. Demands for wide-ranging, general reports and enquiries into specific aspects are likely to increase correspondingly. Such reports and enquiries are best provided by a field force, sufficiently acquainted with local circumstances but not so involved in local situations as to suffer loss of perspective or forfeit the right to independent judgment.

Those whose role it is to find practical, immediate, everyday solutions to educational problems, and to cater directly for their pupils' and students' demands and needs, will continue to want advice, support and encouragement from observers who can see local, and individual, problems against a wider perspective. The amount of advice and support available, and the variety of sources from which these come, are much greater today than they were; but this very fact increases the value, to the individual

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teacher, of somebody with whom to sift and appraise what might otherwise be a confusing embarras de richesses.

All this suggests that the two traditional functions of HM Inspectorate retain their validity and their relevance, and that the importance of judgment and advice deeply rooted in close observation of what is actually happening in the field is, if anything, more important than it was hitherto. Inspection in its widest sense remains fundamental. At the same time changing circumstances, new pressures and new priorities suggest some changes in emphasis and some modifications in procedures.

Modifying Traditional Practices

The traditional Full Inspection of a single institution normally covered all aspects of a school's life and work and resulted in a comprehensive, formal report for the Department, the school staff, the governors and the local education authority. Its value lay in the assessment of the institution 'in the round' and in identifying the uniqueness which distinguished that particular institution from other similar ones. Many schools and colleges found full inspections useful as a stimulant and a review of progress. Many authorities welcomed both the comprehensive character of the report and its detail. But though schools sometimes asked for such inspections they were generally imposed from above and always unilaterally conceived and executed. The report suffered from having to be written for a number of different readers whose needs were not the same. It often included information which some readers already knew (and had, perhaps, themselves supplied), while other readers had their appetite for judgments about the school's achievements whetted but not fully satisfied.

It is no longer possible, today, to maintain a fixed rota of inspections on a time scale which in the last 30 years has become more and more extended. And it is no longer acceptable that, in normal circumstances, the decision to carry out a formal, reporting inspection should be the inspector's alone, without necessarily involving the agreement and full co-operation of the school. There will remain occasions, however, when something closely resembling this traditional procedure will be regarded as the best way of handling a particular situation. But it is certainly hoped that these will be exceptional, in secondary as well as in primary schools.

It has been found in recent years that, in addition to inspections of individual institutions, there is need for general surveys of educational provision in particular areas and enquiries into specific problems. It is important to emphasise that general surveys are of little use if superficial; the difference between this and other forms of inspection lies in its perspective and purpose, not in its profundity.

A major strategical aim for today and tomorrow is to devise ways of retaining that close, detailed examination which provides the only sure foundation for reporting and advising while at the same time reducing, and if possible eliminating, the tensions of those who are all too conscious of being under scrutiny.

Inspectors have always been concerned to assess the teaching and learning situation rather than to judge an individual teacher. Their concern extends to the performance

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of a department or a school as a whole, and their purpose is to help its members to make their own assessments and to improve their individual and combined achievements. The process is a delicate one, calling for understanding attitudes on both sides. It is an advantage to both that the inspector is not asked to sit in judgment on individual teachers and that he need play no part in a teacher's promotion. It is right for him to decline to give testimonials to teachers or lend his name as a referee when promotions are being considered.

There is, of course, one context in which what has just been said needs to be qualified: at present, HM Inspectors are charged with the duty of assessing untrained graduate teachers during their probationary period and trained teachers whose probation has been extended. In this situation they are called on to do what they are not expected to do when visiting fully-fledged teachers. They do it because at present it is thought to be in the ultimate interest of the teacher and the teaching profession that they should.

It remains to look at the ways in which modifications might be approached. In very small schools, almost all of them primary, the difference between a routine visit by an inspector and a visit specifically designed for a full inspection to be followed by a published report is often quite small. A number of individual inspectors, too, have made a habit of paying a series of routine visits to a small primary school and then concluding the series with a brief written report - often little more than a note - if this seemed appropriate or the school wanted it. Many schools have welcomed this sort of arrangement, made with inspectors with whom they have grown to be on easy terms. Even in schools of this nature, however, circumstances may occasionally arise which make a formal inspection and a formal report desirable, but these should be rare.

In larger schools, including virtually all maintained and direct grant secondary schools, the difference between a full inspection and a routine visit is more marked. The routine or specialist visit, however searching, is always restricted in aim and rarely leads to any written report. These limitations bring certain advantages. Both full inspection and routine visits have always depended to a large extent on very similar types of discussion between teachers and inspectors. But routine visits, being relatively free from the pressures and anxieties of the full inspection, have been more likely to encourage 'thinking aloud' on both sides. It is this sort of profitable professional dialogue that modification of inspection procedures would seek to foster.

In the future, with the understanding and assistance of teachers, the close, detailed examination of a school as a whole will, in favourable circumstances, be a combined operation between staff and inspectors. More time will be given to preliminary consultation and the school will be encouraged to contribute suggestions on the objectives of the exercise, and aspects of the school's life and work which might be examined in depth. More time, too, must be found for joint discussion and evaluation at the end of the inspection. The emphasis would be on a constructive exchange of ideas.

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If it is thought useful to publish a report, it is likely to be short and to sum up the major conclusions arrived at as a result of the inspection. But in order that the staff should have a more detailed record it might be appropriate to produce, in addition, notes for the use of the head and staff which will constitute a record of discussions between staff and inspectors, incorporating the main points made by all present. The record would be an 'agreed record', not in the sense that it recorded unanimity but in so far as it was seen to deal fairly with the different views expressed. A record of this kind could be expressly designed as a reminder to those who actually took part in the discussions at the school or college; it would be of interest primarily to teachers and inspectors.

On other occasions it may be considered that a published report would serve no useful purpose. The needs of the teaching staff may instead be met by a staff conference, a series of departmental discussions, or by the writing of informal notes or records. The main aim will be to suit the method to the circumstances and needs of the school.

Surveys and Enquiries

Surveys of different types are likely to grow in number. The main document resulting from them would normally be a general report, concentrating on major issues and designed for comparatively wide circulation. A regional survey, however, may be part of a national enquiry and the report may then become a chapter in a longer document published as a comprehensive account of the situation for anyone to buy and read. It would be wrong for such a document to draw attention to the shortcomings of a particular school in a manner specific enough to make identification by outsiders possible. On the other hand, it would be wrong if any school included in the survey were denied the assistance that it might have expected from the operation. It seems therefore that just as the brief general description and assessment of an individual school may need supplementing by agreed records of discussions with groups of staff, so the main report resulting from a survey may need supplementing by brief notes about each participating school as seen against the general background of the enquiry's findings. These would not of course have the wide circulation given to the main report.

A survey involving several schools may conclude with a fairly substantial report, or with a brief report supplemented by some other form of follow-up, or by no report at all. It may be that a conference of all concerned, or a course provided for some members of staff or a continuing joint investigation of some aspect of the work covered by the original enquiry may seem to teachers and inspectors alike to be the most fruitful means of exploiting the knowledge gained.

Independent Schools

The term 'independent schools' covers a great diversity of establishments, which range from small and struggling schools to those with origins far back in history. HM Inspectors visit independent schools of all kinds and for a variety of purposes.

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It may be to advise the Department on those which qualify or fail to qualify for Registration, the minimum requirement for existence as a school under Part III of the Education Act of 1944, or on schools which may be accorded or may retain the much higher status of'Recognised Efficient'. A number of inspectors are at present taking part in an exercise designed in its first phase to help as many as possible of the registered boarding schools, or schools with a boarding side, to reach Recognition standard within a short time. When the first part of this operation is completed, the same procedure with the same aim will be adopted for registered schools which cater for day pupils. Recognition implies the existence of nationally consistent standards of assessment, and yet assessment must take account of so many imponderables that too much precise definition would be out of place. Advice on according it depends on a detailed knowledge of the school as a whole and the application to it of criteria derived from wide experience. The procedures used in connection with Registration and Recognition as Efficient are described in Appendix 2.

Included in the list of Recognised Independent Schools are many outstanding schools, both preparatory and public. It is essential for the inspectorate, if the information it transmits is to be balanced and reasonably complete, that some of its members should be well acquainted with the organisation, curriculum and teaching of these schools. They, for their part, have welcomed the opportunity of discussing what they are doing with detached observers and against the background of the educational scene as a whole. There seems no reason why the experiments in collaborative assessment already described should not usefully be tried in these schools too. For some time now more informal visits to public schools by groups of two or three inspectors have, in fact, been arranged.

Further Education

Inspectors who visit establishments of further education are subject to particular pressures, have their own priorities and use some procedures of their own. Their pattern of working is under review at present by a Working Party within the Department. Until this working party has reported it is not possible to forecast in detail what differences may be needed in practice from those described above for use in schools. The general underlying principles, however, and the spirit governing the inspectorate's approach to its work apply equally to the inspection of schools and of further education.

Co-operative Experiment

The aim of the new procedures proposed is that the inspectorate should give better service to all types of educational institution. At the time of writing some of the suggested modifications in procedure can be no more than aspirations. In making changes today the inspectorate hopes for the co-operation of all concerned, teachers and others, so that new practices can be tested, improved and consolidated.

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7 The Inspectorate in Wales

Members of the inspectorate in Wales, like their colleagues in England, attempt to be independent observers and assessors of the educational process as it affects individuals, institutions and, at times, society. They perform similar functions to those already described, in assisting schools and further education establishments and individual teachers in such matters as curriculum development, in running courses, in being available as advisers, in acting as assessors on examining boards and Schools Council committees, in establishing a liaison with LEAs and their staff and in being available to inform and advise the Department about the general or particular situation in various educational institutions and in education generally.

Historical Survey

The inspectorate in Wales had also, in its beginnings, the same history, for Wales as a separate educational entity did not exist in the minds of early parliamentary advocates of state education. The first inspectors charged with the supervision of state expenditure on education worked in both countries and saw no reason to differentiate between the areas under their surveillance although from the very first they noticed the extensive use made of Welsh in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. The changes that followed in the character and organisation of the inspectorate in Wales were not so much towards differences in the ways in which they and their English colleagues worked, but in a growing recognition of the separate needs of Wales, dictated by its own cultural, religious, social and linguistic characteristics. This found expression in the emergence of an administrative structure which has gradually given Wales a greater degree of control over its own educational processes and, from the last quarter of the 19th century onwards, has given to the Welsh Inspectorate an important role in the continuing dialogue on how, in a country with two languages, to frame and carry out an effective language policy.

The special and distinctive nature of Welsh educational problems was first brought into sharp focus by the report of 1847 on The State of Education in the Principality of Wales, especially into the means afforded to the labouring classes of acquiring a knowledge of the English language. This three-volume report, compiled with great thoroughness by the three Special Commissioners and in so many respects a work of high distinction, nevertheless contained errors of judgment and misrepresentation which evoked a storm of protest. The 'Treason of the Blue Books' - Brad y Llyfrau Gleision - served to unite Welshmen against the alien figure of the official from

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Whitehall - the symbol of what was interpreted as unwelcome interference from an unsympathetic central government. This was not wholly true, for in 1849 Kay-Shuttleworth advocated the importance of a good systematic knowledge of Welsh in teacher training and the general introduction of an efficient bi-lingual instruction. The immediate consequences of such an enlightened view were to be short-lived, for the conditions imposed upon the schools and the inspectorate by the Revised Code of 1861 placed a premium on the teaching of English at the expense of Welsh. This effect was noted by one of the earliest Welsh speaking H.M.l.s, Sir John Rhys, who, in his Report of 1875 on his district of Flintshire and Denbighshire, complained of the injustice of evaluating the educational progress of a pupil in English while ignoring completely his home language.

The Education Act 1870 greatly increased the burden of work carried by the inspectorate in Wales, as in England, and in 1882 came the first small step in the process of administrative devolution by the creation of a Welsh Division (including the English border areas of Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch), with a Senior Inspector in charge, responsible to the Chief Inspector for Elementary Education for England and Wales. It was also becoming the practice to appoint inspectors who were fluent Welshmen and these included such liberal minded, progressive thinkers as William Edwards and Dan Isaac Davies, who worked together as H.M.I. and sub-inspector respectively. The former is notable for his advocacy of the direct method of language teaching and his views on the limited value of examinations. Davies, not least through his vision of three million bi-lingual Welshmen, had much influence on his fellow teachers and in Welsh national life.

The second half of the 19th century was a period of growing national consciousness. its most important practical expression, as far as the inspectorate was concerned, was the passing of the Welsh Intermediate Act of 1889 and the establishment of a system of County Intermediate Schools. In 1896 a Central Welsh Board for Intermediate Education was established with responsibility, inter alia, for an annual examination and inspection of these schools and having from 1897 its own Chief Inspector. At the same time the Board of Education retained its powers of making 'such inquiry and, in case of need, such further examination or inspection as they think necessary'. Thus, the Intermediate Schools of Wales were subject to a system of dual inspection which inevitably contained the seeds of discord.

The Welsh Department of the Board

The increased responsibilities for education given to the local authorities in 1902, by an Act which was bitterly opposed by liberal and non-conformist opinion in Wales, made it desirable to establish a body which could co-ordinate the work of the various institutions in Welsh Education. This came about in 1907 with the creation of the Welsh Department of the Board of Education, which, although received at first with a characteristic Welsh distrust of government intentions, failed to capture the imagination of patriotic Welshmen. It represented a measure of devolution, and marked an important turning point in the history of the inspectorate in Wales.

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The first Chief Inspector of the Welsh Department, Owen M. Edwards, who had been one of the earliest students of the University College of Wales and became, in 1889, a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, was already well-known to his countrymen as the founder and editor of Welsh periodicals for adults and children and as a Welsh prose writer of distinction and grace. Until his death in 1920 he was to devote his industry and idealism to the task of improving education in Wales and giving it a special character. The first separate code for Wales and the Regulations for Secondary Schools in Wales 1907 incorporated his views on the development of a liberal tradition of education based on the peculiar needs of Wales. With these needs in mind he attached great importance to the pastoral and advisory functions of H.M .1., by the development in Wales of a body of inspectors who would 'in qualifications, training and experience be able to meet general educational requirements and to discharge a particular responsibility for the traditional language and culture of Wales'. To this end some Welsh speaking inspectors in England were re-assigned to Wales and changes were put in train which integrated the work of inspection in elementary, secondary and technical branches, but calling upon the wider resources of the English Inspectorate for specific specialist help. As vacancies arose, specialist Welsh speaking inspectors were appointed.

There was still need to resolve anomalies caused by the dual inspection of the intermediate schools, which could lead, as in 1909, to acrimonious debate over the contents of a report laid before Parliament by the Board of Education on the working of the Intermediate Education Act. In 1920, the Report of the Departmental Committee on the Organisation of Secondary Education in Wales recommended the establishment of a National Council for Education in Wales and a 'unified Inspectorate'. A National Council did not materialise but a system of 'joint and unified' inspection of secondary schools came into being in 1926 and through co-ordinated visits was to prove of value to the schools, until the Central Welsh Board inspectorate was disbanded in 1946. Meanwhile, in 1927. had appeared the report of the Departmental Committee, Welsh in Education and Life - Y Gymraeg mewn Addysg a Bywyd - which became a source of inspiration to those who advocated greater prominence in the schools of Wales to Welsh as a language and to Welsh culture. It recommended inter alia that a member of the Welsh Inspectorate should be given special responsibility for 'the supervision of Welsh teaching in all grades throughout Wales' and that a chapter on the teaching of Welsh be included in the Board's handbook of suggestions for teachers. D. T. Davies, the Welsh dramatist, became the first special adviser in Welsh to the chief inspector in 1934 but the incorporation of a chapter in the handbook took longer to bring about for the Welsh Department had developed its own publications.

The second chief inspector of the Welsh Department, appointed in 1928, had an office in Cardiff and was supported by a woman staff inspector, 17 HM Inspectors (of whom three were women) and eight assistant inspectors, one of whom acted as an Assistant Principal in the offices of the Welsh Department in Whitehall.

Publications, other than formal reports emanating from the Welsh Department for which the inspectorate was increasingly responsible, began with those appearing on

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or before St. David's Day suggesting ways in which the national festival might be celebrated. From 1912 onwards they were remarkable for the range of the themes treated and for their varied content, length and format. The bi-lingual series to mark March 1st, now prepared exclusively by the University of Wales Press Board, developed from this initiative, and Hwnt ac Yma, Cymry Enwog and They Look At Wales, published in the forties, were particular examples compiled originally by the inspectorate.

The report on the teaching of art published in 1928 was prepared by the Welsh Department at the request of the University of Wales - an unusual but by no means unique example of co-operation by these bodies in Wales. More formal reports and surveys such as those on the educational problems of the South Wales Coalfield, adult education, technical education in North Wales and on music also indicated that the inspectorate's concern was by no means restricted to matters concerned with language and with the more usual area surveys of elementary education.

In the late thirties and early forties major reports associated with the names of their chairmen - Spens, Norwood and Fleming - unlike earlier reports (e.g. the Hadow Report on the Education of the Adolescent) of the Consultative Committee not only received evidence and memoranda from Welsh witnesses including H.M.I. but had chapters dealing with the problems under examination written from the Welsh standpoint. In their inclusion and compilation the influence of the inspectorate can be traced and Dr. W. J. Williams who was an assessor to the Norwood Committee co-operated closely with the Welsh member of the committee to produce perhaps the clearest analysis up to that time of the problems of secondary education in Wales.

Organisation and Deployment After 1945

From 1907 to the present day the advisory role of the inspectorate has been more prominent than the regulatory. The recruitment policy initiated by Owen Edwards aiming at an integrated service had also reflected the relatively homogeneous nature of society in Wales. By 1922, all but six of an inspectorate of 26 had been educated at maintained secondary schools in Wales. In the present group of 47, all but two have had their secondary education in maintained secondary schools. It includes graduates of Universities in England (16) as well as of the University of Wales. Ten have come from Colleges of Education, Colleges of Technology and Art Colleges. Of the last 30 appointments made, half have been recruited from those holding posts in England. All but seven are Welsh speakers. Two have learnt Welsh and five have little or no knowledge of the language. Competence in Welsh is sought where appropriate; it does not enable a less well qualified specialist to be appointed. The major structural change in the organisation of the inspectorate after the 1944 Act was the institution of a Staff Inspector group. The staff inspectors, now eight in number, have special responsibilities for phases of education, Primary, Secondary, Further Education (Technical), Further Education (Other than Technical), Teacher Training, Special Education, Planning and Research, and two have specific territorial duties for North and South Wales respectively. They and all their colleagues are also specialists in a subject area or areas. The specialisms not now covered by

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Welsh inspectors are few and are generally in such fields as Printing and Architecture.

In addition to certain specialists being members of national committees and panels as described in Chapter II, the Welsh Inspectorate has its own system of committees, panels and teams. Committees, chaired usually by a staff inspector, represent the main phases of education and meet regularly to discuss the needs of and to promote new developments in their respective fields. To assist it in its work, a Committee may set up from time to time an ad hoc team of three or four, to study in depth a particular problem e.g. the small rural school. Panels represent subjects and aspects of the curriculum e.g. Science, Languages, Religious Education, Social Sciences. Groups having assignments which cross phase or subject boundaries are set up to prepare memoranda and to take references from the chief inspector or from committees; at present the most active are those on Resources for Learning, and Research and Planning. A Standing Reference Committee, with the chief inspector as chairman and consisting of all staff inspectors and the senior woman inspector, keeps the work of the inspectorial group in Wales under constant review and advises the Secretary for Welsh Education, who often attends its meetings. It advises on inspection and research programmes, courses, relations with outside bodies such as the W.J.E.C. but its most important current task is concerned with the redeployment of the inspectorate to meet changing circumstances generally and those involving Wales more specifically.

Communications and Research

Short Courses for teachers in Wales specifically have had an almost continuous history certainly since the twenties and those held in Oxford particularly provided opportunities for educators to keep in touch with the latest fruits of scholarship and genius in Welsh.

In recent years the programme of courses has expanded in scale and variety and has included pioneering ventures in educational research, organisation and management in secondary schools and audio-visual methods of teaching languages including Welsh. The National Language Centre established by the Glamorgan Authority with the support of the Welsh Joint Education Committee was the direct outcome of a conference convened by the chief inspector in 1964.

Surveys conducted during the forties formed the basis for some of the Welsh Department's bi-lingual publications between 1942 and 1952. Two are still called for; one is an authoritative review Education in Wales - Addysg yng Nghymru 1847-1947, the other The Curriculum and the Community places the bi-lingual problem in its school setting in relation to the cultural background of Wales and to the teaching of History, Geography and Integrated Studies.

A great deal of the inspectorate's skill and expertise found an outlet directly or indirectly in the ten major reports of the Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales) published since 1949. HM Inspectors have always been Secretaries or Joint Secretaries and the professional advice of the group was always available.

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They were also the secretaries of the working party on Welsh Educational Administration 1949, the Welsh Unesco Committee and of the Ready Committee on Welsh Language Publishing 1952. The Welsh Inspectorate's interest in investigation and research has found expression also in participation in the series of surveys of reading standards conducted in England and Wales in the forties and fifties and which included a pioneering study of Reading Ability in Welsh and English. A review of the place of Welsh in the schools of Wales was published in the Council for Wales report on The Welsh Language Today (1963), and from surveys of the problems of the small comprehensive school there has been developed a system of curriculum analysis now widely used outside Wales and described in recently published work and which has considerable potential in systems analysis generally. These developments in particular are proving useful in the increasing attention being given by the Department to the qualitative aspects of educational planning.

The Schools Council established in 1964 provided for a Steering Committee for Wales which, in its brief existence, has published useful Working Papers and Curriculum Bulletins, has had an inspector for its Secretary from the outset, has had the strong support of groups and teams within the inspectorate in preparing material and in encouraging the extensive research and development projects now being financed by the Council in Wales.

From their beginnings new bodies established or working in Wales have been able to call upon the expertise and general background knowledge of the inspectorate. There has been the closest co-operation with the Welsh Joint Education Committee and its main committees and panels from its establishment in 1948. The Welsh Arts Council, the Welsh Books Council, The Sports Council (Wales), the Library Advisory Council (Wales) and other national bodies as varied as the National Museum, the National Library and the National Eisteddfod also find H.M.I.'s advice helpful from time to time.

Challenge and Opportunity

The successive steps towards administrative devolution taken by the Ministry in 1952 and 1958 and by the Department ofEducation and Science in 1963 by the establishment of the Education Office for Wales with the Secretary for Welsh Education based at Cardiff have enabled expert advice and executive decision to be more closely related. The Department of Education and Science continues to be the executive authority for education in Wales with the Secretary of State for Wales having general oversight duties only. The administrative setting in which the inspector works in Wales has changed much in recent years and it is likely that with central and local government reform so much in the air, change will continue.

The increasing emphasis on surveys, the development of new procedures such as that of the workshop and the setting up of a new system of communications have placed some strain on supporting office services geared to a more formalised inspecting and reporting system.

Co-operation with the staffs of local education authorities on surveys and with teachers in professional associations. and in teachers' centres, and with in-service

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training developments generally, is now widespread. Inspectors either individuaLly or in small teams are increasingly finding themselves involved in joint exercises to study specific problems. They are asked to participate both because of their direct knowledge of actual situations and because of their use of increasingly sophisticated techniques of study and analysis. A kind of participating consultancy is developing. All this takes place in a relatively small entity in a changing society which is experiencing profound moral and economic change and where, although cultural values are also under stress, they are still conditioned by the language issue. The commitment to bi-lingual policies in education albeit in different forms in different parts of Wales makes great demands for the use of research approaches. a readiness to innovate and a grasp of organisational issues on the part of all concerned and not least on the part of the inspectorate collectively and individually.

Links with the English Inspectors, and to a lesser extent with those in Scotland, through full participation in panels, conferences and courses, have enabled the Welsh inspectorate to keep in close touch with educational thinking generally and these have been reinforced by a series of study visits or secondment to European countries, Africa, the Middle East and North America. They have been enabled to appreciate that 'Our country is the world - our countrymen are all mankind'.

Changes in the way in which inspectors work or are expected to work can go a considerable way towards helping them to meet these challenges of our time, but ultimately, the effectiveness of this unique Welsh professional advisory group will depend on the extent to which the individual inspector will feel that his task is manageable and relevant and that his views have influence through improved channels of communications at the appropriate stage of decision whatever the governmental situation happens to be. It is an opportunity to serve his countrymen which he will continue to cherish.

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Appendix 1

A Divisional Areas

There are nine Divisions in England, covering the following areas:

Northern Division: Northumberland; Durham; Yorkshire (North Riding); Cumberland; Westmorland.

East and West Ridings Division

North-Western Division: Lancashire; Cheshire.

North Midland Division: Lincolnshire (Lindsey, Holland, Kesteven); Nottinghamshire; Derbyshire; Leicestershire; Rutland; Northamptonshire.

Midland Division: Warwickshire; Worcestershire; Herefordshire; Shropshire; Staffordshire.

Eastern Division: Norfolk; Suffolk; Cambridgeshire & Isle of Ely; Huntingdon & Peterborough; Bedfordshire; Hertfordshire; Essex (including the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Newham).

Metropolitan Division South-Eastern Division: Greater London Area (excluding the London boroughs of and Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Newham and excluding the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton); Buckinghamshire; Oxfordshire.

Southern Division: The London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond-upon-Thames and Sutton; Kent; Sussex; Surrey; Berkshire; Hampshire; Isle of Wight.

South-Western Division: Cornwall; Isles of Scilly; Devon; Somerset; Wiltshire; Gloucestershire; Dorset.

B Staff Inspectors' Assignments

Staff Inspectors have special responsibilities on a national basis as follows: Adult Education (provided by Responsible Bodies), Adult Education (other than R.B.), Communication, Publications and Research, Community Centres & Village Halls,

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Education in Prisons & Borstals, Educational Relations Overseas, Further Education for Industry & Commerce (Technical), Further Education for Industry & Commerce (General Duties), Further Education of other kinds (4 S.Ls operating Divisionally), Further Education for Women, Independent Schools, Libraries, Middle Schools, Primary (Infant & Nursery Education), Primary (Junior Education), School and F.E. Buildings & Equipment, Secondary Education (3 S.I.s), Special Educational Treatment, Technical Education (Regional organisation) (7 S.l.s), Training of Teachers (4 S.I.s), Youth Employment Service, Youth Service.

Agriculture, Art (2 S.I.s), Building, Business Studies, Classics, Educational Technology, English (2 S.Ls), Engineering (3 S.I.s), Food Education, Geography, General Education in Technical, Commercial & Art Establishments, Handicraft, Health Education, History, Home Economics, Industrial Sciences, Management Studies, Mathematics (2 S.l.s), Mining, Modern Languages, Music, Nautical Education & Training, Physical Education (2 S.I.s), Religious Education, Rural Education, 'Services Education, Science (2 S.I.s).

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Appendix 2

Procedures for Registration and Recognition of Independent Schools


Under Part III of the Education Act 1944, it is illegal to conduct an independent school unless it is registered* in the Register of Independent Schools, kept by the Registrar of Independent Schools at the Department. A new independent school is in the first place registered provisionally only. The appointed General Inspector then visits primarily in order to be able to advise the Department whether or not the school is of a standard to justify immediate final registration. He attempts, however, as in any other school, to make the visit as friendly, helpful and constructive as possible, discussing frankly any serious weaknesses or deficiencies which will need to be remedied. On receipt of his advice, the Department informs the school whether or not registration is final.

If it is not, the General Inspector revisits after a reasonable interval. If he is still doubtful whether conditions warrant final registration, a visit is arranged of members of the Special Team, a group of H.M.I. who cover the country and are specially chosen for their experience of problems in this field. Their report to the Department may recommend final registration, a further extension of time or a notice of complaint under Section 71 of the Act requiring the school to remedy specified deficiencies within a prescribed period. If the Department serves a notice of complaint, the proprietor may appeal to an Independent Schools Tribunal and H.M.I. who conducted the inspection will be asked to give evidence to the Tribunal.

Once a school is registered, the General Inspector continues to act as consultant and adviser. His advisory role is the more necessary if, as is often the case, the school lacks other sources of professional advice such as those available to the maintained schools. He also has a continuing responsibility to see that standards are maintained. If he is in doubt at any time, an inspection by members of the Special Team may be arranged.

Recognition as Efficient

Unrecognised Day Schools

When a school applies for recognition, the General Inspector advises from his knowledge of the school whether there is a prima facie case. If it is agreed that there is,

*Subject to the exemptions possible under Section 70(2) of the Act.

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an inspection is arranged. The inspecting team will usually include the General Inspector for the school and some members of the Recognition Team, another group of H.M.I. who cover the country but who have extensive experience of the inspection of recognised schools. In the light of the report of the inspection, the Department decides whether to grant or refuse recognition as efficient.

Unrecognised Boarding Schools

In accordance with the policy aimed at raising standards in unrecognised independent boarding schools, members of the Recognition Team are visiting all such schools and, in the light of their reports, the Department is advising the schools of the measures which they need to take to attain the standard for recognition as efficient. After not more than 2 years from this advisory visit a further inspection will be arranged to determine whether this standard has been reached. If it has not and the Department issues a notice of complaint, the proprietor will have the right of appeal to an Independent Schools Tribunal and members of the Recognition Team will be called on to give evidence.

Schools Already Recognised as Efficient

General Inspectors maintain regular contact with recognised schools and may, on their own initiative or at the request of the school, invite specialist colleagues to visit with them to discuss specific aspects of the school's work.

If such a visit suggests that the school is falling below the standard for recognition, the Department advises the school and a further visit will be arranged in due course to assess whether appropriate measures have been taken by the school. If they have not, a formal inspection may be arranged and this may lead to withdrawal of recognition.


Reports which are written in connection with the specific procedures of registration and recognition are necessarily formal in character, and tend, in the interests of consistency, to follow certain established patterns which have proved useful for these purposes. Careful account, however, is always taken of the widely varying circumstances and character of independent schools.

In all other respects H.M.I. try to establish and maintain easy and informal professional relationships, and hope to develop still further the processes of collaboration and joint assessment in established independent schools no less than in maintained schools.