The Ofsted lay inspector: to what purpose?
A team at the Manchester Metropolitan University has been researching the role of the lay inspector (LI), within the Ofsted school inspection process, for the last three and a half years. Aspects of this work have been reported on, focusing on the attributes and early perceptions oflay inspec tors (Hustler, Goodwin and Roden, 1995) , considering how lay inspectors and others seem to be understanding the notion of 'lay' (Hustler and Stone, 1996) , and overviewing the general issues in terms of their implica tion for the inspection process (Hustler et al, 1996) . At the Lancaster Ofsted British Educational Research Association (BERA) Symposium, we reported on head-teachers' perceptions and experience of lay inspectors (Stone and Hustler, 1996) . During this research we have had useful rela tions with Ofsted and ALI (Association of Lay Inspectors) and aspects of our work have led to recommendations for changes or minor tinkering with the system as it relates to lay inspectors.