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Gove wins spat with Wilshaw over no-notice inspections

10 June 2014

3:22 PM

10 June 2014

3:22 PM

After a rather strange interview with Newsnight in which the Ofsted chief argued that Michael Gove had blocked no-notice inspections in 2012, Sir Michael Wilshaw has this afternoon backed down. The Education department has issued this statement:

‘The Secretary of State and the Chief Inspector have today discussed the issue of no-notice inspections. The Chief Inspector confirmed that the Education Secretary did not ask Ofsted to halt its plans for no-notice inspections in 2012. Ofsted took the decision after considering the response to their consultation.

‘The Secretary of State yesterday commissioned the Chief Inspector to examine the practicalities of extending the use of no-notice inspections, so that any school can expect an unannounced visit. Both look forward to working together to implementing this important reform.’

So this is another attempt to close down a row on another front over extremism in schools and the best form of oversight. It has enabled Labour to argue that the Education Secretary likes to cross a road to pick a fight, but the speedy end to this stand-off at least means the political row about this issue looks to be entering its last days.

However, there is a question about the working relationship between these two men. Sources tell me that tensions between the two men have been rising recently, so even though Gove appears to have shut down (and won) this row, he may have more problems on the way in the future.


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Show comments
  • Mr Creosote

    Ofsted have never warned Early Years settings such as private nurseries about inspections – why do they adopt a different approach for schools? I suspect the answer is historical pressure from the teaching unions and the Local Authorities (two sides of the same coin).

  • colliemum

    When will it dawn on you lot in the Westminster bubble that we are not interested in these ‘spats’, or if it’s advantage Labour or game Gove.

    We want to know who, lower down the food chain, let this go on for years – and it’s longer than 2010, for starters – who has brushed this under the carpet – why Birmingham City Council is not mentioned on whose patch this was allowed to happen – where and who are the people who are made to resign about this – and why the teachers trade unions have still not raised their heads above the parapet.

    So do your job and get answers to these questions. Is that too much hard work, or do you need some danger money to do it?

    • http://www.DonnaEdmunds.com/ Donna InSussex

      I actually am interested in these spats. If civil servants are briefing against our ministers and preventing them from carrying out their democratic mandate, that’s a subversion of our democracy. I think we therefore need to know about it.

      • HookesLaw

        Yes, its bad enough the metropolitan police trying to fit up a cabinet minister.

      • colliemum

        We certainly need to know about it, but not as a sort of ‘sporting’ event, and especially not to the exclusion of the real problems.
        When the MSM go on about these ‘spats’ between Gove and Wilshaw, they forget, or haven’t got the pixels, or the inclination, to find out who messed up for what reason in the lower ranks, or who recommended doing nothing to their higher-ups, and what are their political affiliations.
        AFAIK, the only journalist who does this sort of donkey work, to great effect, is Andrew Gilligan.
        That is the sort of journalism we need.

    • ButcombeMan

      collie
      You are of course correct.. Labour controlled BCC and the Unions are very much at fault.

      The Speccie teenagers steer it towards the internal politics. They trivialise so much here.

  • Andy

    So what you are actually saying is Wilshaw lied.

    • Holly

      I read the scrolling news which said, he ‘misremembered’.
      Whatever the heck that means in ‘fluent BBC speak’.
      ‘Lied’, tried to keep the spat going, whatever Wilshaw’s intentions were we will probably never know.

      • Andy

        Like I said he lied.

        • The_Missing_Think

          Or behind the scened.

        • Holly

          I reckon he deliberately ‘misremembered’, because if he had not ‘misremembered’ he would have stood his ground.
          The MSM would then have been camped outside Gove’s pad all weekend.

      • Mynydd

        It was not the BBC who said ‘misremembered’ it was Mr Gove’s department, the BBC just repeated it.

        • Holly

          Gosh I’ll sleep a lot better knowing that.
          Still doesn’t change the fact that some unelected bod goes around ‘misremembering’ stuff’.

        • Holly

          Gosh I’ll sleep a lot better knowing that.
          Still doesn’t change the fact that some unelected bod goes around ‘misremembering’ stuff’.

    • The Masked Marvel

      Alternatively, Wilshaw was telling the truth and has since caved under pressure. The wording of the announcement certainly seems to suggest that. If Gove’s “consultation” was not against surprise inspections, why on earth would Wilshaw then have decided against them “after considering” such a response?

      • Andy

        Suggest you read what Dominic Cummings has said.

        • The Masked Marvel

          You mean where he says he was all for these minimal-warning inspections two years ago, just like the official response? This still does not explain why Wilshaw would then make the decision not to do them. The wording of this is fishy. Somebody is lying.

          • Andy

            Yes – Wilshaw is. Read the TES article on the subject. Michael Gove did not stop Ofsted doing unannounced visits. And quite frankly it is bloody barking for Ofsted to warn a school of an inspection. It is hardly surprising that the schools in Birmingham did a load of ‘window dressing’ specially for the event. Wilshaw needs to explain why Ofsted didn’t carry through.

            • The Masked Marvel

              I agree that Ofsted warning these schools was madness. I do not know why, if Gove and Cummings were so in favor of surprise inspections, they didn’t make a big deal out of it originally when Ofsted rejected their recommendations. If Wilshaw is lying about this, it’s a big deal, and the Conservatives should be calling for him to resign for it. Yet, they’re not, are they?

              To be honest, I find it difficult to see how these schools could have covered up the problem so well even with ample warning. Was Wilshaw taken round a series of Potemkin villages and fell for it?

              • Andy

                Ah yes but you forget the malign influence of the odious Clegg. What was the LibDems role in all of this ? You’re happy to stick it to Gove but it might be Laws.
                And I think I would believe Cummings above Wilshaw.

                • HookesLaw

                  It seems to me your points make broad sense in this.

                • Guest

                  Yes, perhaps Laws bears some responsibility. If so, then Gove’s allies will start pointing the finger at him now that they’ve stood up for their boss. If they smell Tory blood, the BBC won’t give up on this any time soon, so blame must needs shift.

              • ButcombeMan

                They are not calling for him to resign, he has been brought to heel.

            • ButcombeMan

              World at One played tapes of Gove arguing for unannounced visits. He has always wanted them, out of Office even.

              Wilshaw made the decision it seems in the face of union pressure.

              It looks very much as if Wilshaw deliberately lied on national television.

              • The Masked Marvel

                Then he should resign.

        • Holly

          ???

      • HookesLaw

        From my reading it was Ofsted’s consultation, not Gove’s. Since Ofsted are the body charged with doing the inspections then it certainly makes sense for them to do it.
        As this story pans out I do not see it as Wilshaw being how shall I say, the more accurate.

      • CharlietheChump

        Do your research, Gove has stated publicly that spot inspections are beneficial

  • Earlshill

    Hmm, let’s see. Gove wins utterly irrelevant minor skirmish between the political class. Extremist Islamists win the war to brainwash large numbers of children in UK state schools.

    • In2minds

      “Gove wins…” I’d say no, we all lost. Remember Richard Mawrey QC? He
      was the judge who said the 2004 voting scandal in Birmingham made it look like a ‘banana republic’. Well first it was this and now it’s schools, Extremist Islamists never stop.

  • toco10

    Given the huge coverage given to this non story by Labour’s hacks at the BBC,in particular M. Hussein on its Today programme this morning, perhaps equal coverage will be given to a full and proper correction.Somehow I feel it would be unwise to hold one’s breath in the hope the BBC can be even handed in matters political.

    • XH558

      The BBC is pretty much Shakespeare’s boy here : “creeping like snail / Unwillingly to school”

    • Hello

      Yes, this non story that Gove started by sitting down to give an interview to the Times and lobbing a grenade at the Home Office. The poor chap. He’s being treated terribly unfairly.

      Maybe we could all hold hands and weep together for this poor, poor man?

      • MirthaTidville

        No need to concern yourself about Mr Gove..He is a lot smarter than you are and has a game plan. This is part of it..hold your breath and get the popcorn in

        • CharlietheChump

          Gove is the most focused and effective Minister I have seen in over 50 years. And that includes Thatcher.

          • telemachus

            That is ridiculous
            He has the charisma of a snail
            But he like the wolf picks off the wounded animal and goes in to destroy
            His modus operandi is as odious as his mirror image

            • CharlietheChump

              HaHa! That got you going you confiscatory, centrally planned Trot.

              • telemachus

                Trots do not believe in central planning

            • Kitty MLB

              Little wasp. Michael Gove is exceptionally charismatic,
              eccentric ( in a good way) has strength of character and
              Herculean determination.
              Are you saying that beautiful but dim Tristram has been
              fatally wounded by our educational crusader- the poor
              fellow. You must be devastated.

        • Hello

          He doesn’t have a game plan. He’s one of these politicians that just gives the illusion of having a game plan, and the “game plan” becomes a self-fulling prophecy as the media analyse it to death opening up hundreds of different routes that can be taken, at the end of which he can claim to have planned the whole thing.

          • CharlietheChump

            In fact he’s one of the phew who clearly has a plan and puts it into effect despite the worst the blob can throw. Goodbye Hello

          • MirthaTidville

            Don`t forget the popcorn….

            • Hello

              Why? Because he’s now briefing that “he’s bored” because he knows he screwed up?

    • HookesLaw

      Well yes, I agree. And surely its not a case of Gove winning a spat. Either he did block no notice inspections (which may or may not be a good idea) or he did not.
      It seems he did not. So why did the inspector suggest he did – or did the BBC put words on his mouth?

    • ButcombeMan

      Actually, the BBC exposed all this on World at One.

      I detest the BBC political games (and would close down most of it) as much as anyone, but let us be fair.

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