Considers the role of Her Majesty′s Inspectorate (HMI) in the maintenance, promotion and judgement of quality in schools. Drawing on documentary evidence and interview data, briefly sets out the historical context in which HMI operated and then focuses particularly on the role of HMI from the 1970s until 1993. Argues that although the statutory position of HMI as set out in The Rayner Report excludes them from responsibility for quality directly, and gives them the duty of reporting the health of the system to the Secretary of State, they engaged in the policy making with respect to key aspects of quality i.e. curriculum and pedagogy. Also argues that HMI are best seen as an interpretive community, and it was this that enabled them to struggle for the pedagogic device. Considers the arrangements for inspection since 1993 and suggests that there is some concern about the quality judgement of the new inspection process.
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