HC Deb 19 December 1991 vol 201 cc266-7W
Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the date of commissioning and terms of reference of the Adams report on the future of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools service in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts

The report was commissioned on 24 May with the following terms of referenceTo review the role and organisation of HM Inspectorate in Wales in the light of the Government's policies for Education, and the particular character and needs of educational provision in Wales to secure that;

  1. (i) the public at large can be informed about the quality of the education provided by Schools and Colleges;
  2. (ii) funding agencies (including the Funding Councils and Local Education Authorities) can have access to 267 independent quality assurance advice on which they can rely, drawn from inspection of and reporting upon those institutions and forms of provision to which HMI statutorily have access;
  3. (iii) the management of Schools and, for the foreseeable future, Colleges in the Further Education sector, are supported by a system of quality assurance derived from inspecting and reporting on which they can draw in the exercise of their responsibilities;
  4. (iv) officials, both in the Welsh Office Education Department (WOED) and in other parts of the Welsh Office as necessary and Ministers continue to receive independent advice on education policy issues derived from the evidence of objective inspection.
The review should take into account the existence and future development of other quality audit or assurance arrangements at departmental, local authority funding council—as envisaged in the White Papers—and institutional level and report on how HMI might relate to and interact with them. The review should also consider a widening of the role of HMI to include managerial and value-for-money issues in addition to educational and professional ones. To examine the feasibility and desirability of different organisational models which could deliver these objectives, assessing and comparing their advantages and disadvantages, considering in particular HMI:
  1. (i) being established wholly independent of Government;
  2. (ii) becoming a Next Steps Agency accountable to the Secretary of State;
  3. (iii) remaining part of the Welsh Office in the way it is now.
As part of that examination to identify for each model:
  1. (i) the implications for staffing (including numbers and grading), for support services and for accommodation;
  2. (ii) its costs;
  3. (iii) the earliest date when it could be implemented and the steps and timetable which would need to be followed (including any changes in legislation which would be required) in order to achieve it.
And in undertaking this review:
  1. (i) to take account of the separate review being undertaken in England;
  2. (ii) to consult WOED and HMI within the Welsh Office;
  3. (iii) to seek guidance as need arises from Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Secretaries;
  4. (iv) to submit a preliminary report of progress to the Permanent Secretary within two months, for discussion with him and Deputy Secretaries;
  5. (v) to report to the Permanent Secretary with recommendations within three months.