Cash-starved Ofsted underspends budget and suggests extra inspections

 

Tes reports that Ofsted is forecasting an an underspend of £1.2 million in its 2017-18 budget despite seeing its budget slashed and says it wants to use the extra money to finance more inspections.

By 2019-20, the inspectorate will have seen its funding cut by 38 per cent, compared to the £200m in funding it enjoyed in 2010-11. But now audit-committee minutes from the schools watchdog have revealed it is on course to have money left over at the end of this financial year.

The committee has recommended that these funds should be used to “provide value for money, support delivery of our new strategic objectives and, where possible, increase the volume of inspection”.

The situation contrasts with the one outlined in 2016 by Sir Michael Wilshaw, who was at the time Ofsted chief inspector. He said that the watchdog needed to save £31.5 million over the next four years, in order to ensure that it was financially secure.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, only 67 per cent of inspections of maintained schools were carried out, saving more than £3 million

.In its 2017-2022 corporate strategy, published in September last year, Ofsted outlined plans to inspect between 5 and 10 per cent of outstanding schools. It said that it would make time to do this by extending the period – within the statutory five-year limit – between inspections of good schools.

And, in December, the watchdog said that it would wait up to two years between a short inspection of a school that it believed might no longer be rated “good” and a full follow-up inspection.

Read more Cash-starved Ofsted underspends budget and suggests extra inspections

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