"Inspection is an essential component of any comprehensive system of school improvement and is an invaluable aid to the deployment of local authority school improvement resources and to teachers, heads, governors and communities.
"When divorced from being a co-operative and integrated approach it risks being seen as merely intimidatory and coercive.
"In redefining the role of national inspection and targeting selected local authorities, the government, through Ofsted, is paying a perhaps unconscious tribute to the principle that local authorities themselves are the critical resource for the delivery of well-informed, speedily deployed and expert local school improvement services.
"It is unfortunate, therefore, that the main current direction of government schools policy is to deny funding, disaggregate and disrupt local authority provision and thus diminish the role of the critical middle tier in school improvement."
The Aspect Group of Prospect represents over 4,000 advisory head teachers, directors and managers of children's services, school improvement and early years advisers, education welfare officers, 14-19 coordinators, heads of Sure Start, Ofsted inspectors, parent partnership staff and self-employed consultants.