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Ask the obvious

Amid all the excitement of allegedly failing schools and failing teachers, no one seems to be asking two obvious questions: "How does the Office for Standards in Education know?" and "Are the inspectors' opinions correct?".

Since OFSTED has published nothing which demonstrates the reliability and validity of its methods, we question its judgments. Unfortunately, schools wishing to challenge OFSTED and have their day in court are told they cannot. OFSTED's judgments cannot be questioned.

Those who would like to submit written evidence in confidence can write to the Office for Standards in Inspection (OFSTIN) at the address below.

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are wise not to follow the OFSTED practice.

Most advanced countries are setting up indicator systems rather than spending large amounts on inspection.

CHRIS BOOTHROYD MICHAEL DUFFY CAROL FITZ-GIBBON BOB FISK KEN GULLIVER OFSTIN development committee 25 Eastfield Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 8BD

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