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On the artful tales of the Ofsted dodgers

Many national newspapers and internet news sites recently ran stories about teachers cheating during Ofsted inspections. The impression was that schools were offering challenging pupils #163;100 to stay off during inspections, that staff came in from other schools to pose as heads of department and that Ofsted-pleasing artwork did the rounds from school to school.

Yet to my surprise, these shameful stories emanated from TES's main feature "Tricks of the trade" (6 January) and the "evidence" was mainly anecdotes from the TES online forums.

Seasoned forum users know that, while much good sense is shared online, many users aim to spread mischief. Views are exaggerated for dramatic effect and fun, and others try to cap them. Some forum users take on various user names to collude with this and it is hard to know what is truth and what is fiction. It is always best to take these stories with a pinch of salt.

Unsubstantiated, anonymous opinions in an article have led to a negative image of the profession at a time when we need the public's support. To suggest that cheating and lying are "tricks of the trade" is an insult to the positive values and high standards we promote within our daily lives in school.

Anne Krisman, RE teacher, Kent.

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