England’s 400 inspectors provide small teams to go into selected schools for inspection every year. This is sometimes because they have been criticised by parents, councillors or the press.

There may be other reasons: possibly a school is known for its particularly high standards,  in which case the Inspectorate will wish to learn the secret and pass it on to the Minister concerned. Possibly, an informal inspector’s visit has already dug up signs of trouble.

This would certainly lead to a fuller inspection.

The inspection may take 3-5 days or sometimes longer according to school type or size.  Schools cannot refuse to be inspected; nor can the inspectors order the dismissal of any member of staff. Teachers are not their concern. Teaching is.

This is not to say that an awful teacher will be ignored. Remarks will certainly be made to the headmaster and the chief education officer – but they will be verbal, not written.

 So what is it that the inspectors do? For one thing, they will want to take a close look at the courses offered and what standards are achieved by pupils. They also compare teachers’ qualifications with the subjects they teach. All too often teachers qualified in, say, history are forced to teach maths, where there is a shortage.


Examination results are also looked at carefully, so are the school’s disciplinary arrangements, its accommodation (do pupils have to sit in the corridors or in mobile classrooms; are lavatories outside; does the roof leak when it rains?) and the textbooks and equipment used. Before leaving the inspected school, the inspectors will give the head  and local authority leader some indication of its findings.

So the reports, which take some months to put together and print, do not come as a total surprise. There are about 30,000 schools, colleges and polytechnics in England. Although there are only about 250 formal inspections a year, visits are far more numerous. Last year alone, three out of four secondary schools, one-quarter of all primary and middle schools, almost half of the special schools, nine out of ten higher education colleges were visited.

Mark the best choice.

1. Line 7, ‘dug up’ means a) discovered b) made a hole c) removed from ground d) searched

2. Line 14, ‘they’ refers to the .

a) headmaster and the chief education officer b) remarks c) inspectors d) teaching and teachers in a schoc!

3. Which of the following is not a reason for inspection?

a) The size and type of school. b) An earlier visit which suggests something is wrong.

c) Parents’ complaints about the school. d) High academic standards in a school.


4. When the teachers at a school are unsatisfactory, .

a) the school can prevent the inspectors from seeing them

b) the inspectors make critical comments

c) the inspectors send a report to the headmaster

d) the inspectors have the power to get rid of them


5. The main reason why inspectors study teachers’ qualifications is that

a) many teachers are not officially qualified

b) some teachers refuse to teach unpopular subjects

c) some teachers are not being employed appropriately

d) headmasters often neglect certain subjects


6. Inspectors’ comments on schools .

a) are immediately passed on to the concerned person

b) are kept secret from the schools concerned until they are made public

c) frequently come as a shock to headmasters

d) take so long to appear that they are not very useful


7. Last year, were visited the most.

a) primary schools

b) special schools

c) independent schools

d) further education colleges

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