OFSTED chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has suggested closer scrutiny of schools across the country may be needed as he confirmed the watchdog has visited other towns and cities in the wake of the alleged “Trojan horse” takeover plot in Birmingham.
The watchdog has visited schools in several areas due to concerns about how they are being run, he told the Commons education select committee.
Sir Michael also told the cross-party group of MPs that several headteachers in Birmingham believed that there had been a “planned and orchestrated” campaign to take over schools in the city.
The committee is holding evidence sessions on extremism in schools following allegations of a plot by hardline Muslims to take over a number of Birmingham schools.
Last month Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of schools in Birmingham.
Five schools in the city were placed in special measures after a series of inspections in the wake of the “Trojan Horse” allegations.
The Ofsted chief was asked if there was an issue elsewhere in the country with governors seeing their role as running a school rather than setting policy.
“We are looking at other schools where this might be happening,” he said.
“We’ve certainly been to schools in Bradford and Luton.”
He said that where Ofsted receives information about concerns, they are conducting unannounced inspections.
He suggested that there was a “wider issue” about how schools are governed, revealing that Ofsted has been looking at around 20 schools across England that have been downgraded from outstanding to inadequate due to “failings in governance”.
“Where we see serious problems with governance then that affects our decision and our judgments, and we’ve about 20 schools which have been downgraded from outstanding to inadequate due to failings in governance, and serious failings in governance.”
He later told the committee that there needs to be more professional governors, saying there has been a reliance on “amateurish governance to do a professional job”.
He suggested that there may need to be a change in the law to allow outstanding schools to be inspected more often.
“We do re-inspect outstanding schools where there is a dip in performance and where our risk assessment process triggers an inspection,” Sir Michael said.
“I think we need to review this.”