The Impact of School Inspections



Gray C & Gardner J (1999) The Impact of School Inspections. Oxford Review of Education, 25 (4), pp. 455-468.

Developments in the British system of school inspections have been attracting a great deal of interest over the past number of years, arguably in a politically motivated 'policy' debate in the main, but importantly and increasingly in an educational value context. Questions about the process and its impact, and the cost of undertaking such intensive programmes as currently exist, are being asked ever louder. As a result, and in order to inform it, the debate is attracting more empirically based analysis; the work reported here is a contribution to this knowledge base. In comparison to the body of research undertaken to examine the English model of school inspections, little is known about the effects of school inspection on teachers and schools in Northern Ireland. This paper addresses this issue and presents findings from a study of the perceptions and experiences of some 70 Northern Ireland primary and secondary-level schools. The results suggest that most school principals in Northern Ireland consider the inspection programme to be professional and supportive. However, there are clear reservations about the extent of anxiety induced by the process, the amount of time necessary to prepare for the inspection and the inclusion of lay persons in the inspection team. This paper discusses these findings in a UK context and argues the need for independent research into the inspection of schools.

Oxford Review of Education: Volume 25, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/1999
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor John Gardner
Professor John Gardner

Professor, Education