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Ofsted chief scraps no-notice inspection plans

EDUCATION watchdogs have ditched plans to bring in unlimited no-notice
inspections in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal.

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw was labelled a “bottler” after he said there
was no need for the move, despite pledging it after radical Islamists
infiltrated schools in Birmingham.

The climbdown emerged as Sir Michael unveiled plans to inspect good schools
more often to stop “the rot setting in”.

He said 860 schools teaching 300,000 pupils that had been previously ranked as
“good” had become worse in the past year.

They will now be inspected every three years instead of every five.

Sir Michael said: “That’s what I’m really worried about – decline can set in
very quickly.”

He said the Trojan Horse scandal had “focused minds” on the need to toughen up
the inspection regime.

But he U-turned on his previous vow on no-notice inspections.

Speaking at the height of the row in June, Sir Michael said: “Events of recent
weeks have served to reinforce my original view that no-notice inspections
for all schools are the best way to make sure that, for every school we
visit, inspectors see schools as they normally are.”

Yesterday he said: “After careful consideration, I have concluded that we do
not need to consult on moving to routine no-notice inspections at the
present time.”

He insisted that the number of unannounced visits to failing schools would
increase. And he denied “caving in” to teaching unions, who are opposed to
no-notice inspections.

But Dominic Cummings, who was an adviser to former Education Secretary Michael
Gove, slammed the decision.

He tweeted: “Predictable that Wilshaw would bottle No Notice again just as he
did in 2012. He only did it earlier this year with gun to his head. Useless.”

Christine Blower, head of the NUT teaching union, gave the move a cautious
welcome.

She said: “While we welcome the fact that there will be no routine no-notice
inspections, what we need is a root and branch reform of the role of Ofsted.”

k.schofield@the-sun.co.uk