We must begin academy chain inspections

The government must now act to give Ofsted the powers to inspect academy chains, says SecEd editor Pete Henshaw.

The critical Ofsted report after the inspection of 12 schools within the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) is the final straw.

With a majority of England’s secondary schools now academies and with many of these institutions under the control of an academy chain, it is imperative that Ofsted has the powers to inspect these wider organisations.

This is not a debate about the merits of Ofsted. Whatever your view of England’s inspectorate (and how it conducts its inspection regime), we cannot justify having a system whereby individual schools, not to mention entire local authorities, are opened up to severe scrutiny, yet academy chains, which have such an influence on the quality of so many of England’s schools, escape the inspector’s eye completely.

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