Bad influence of Tony Zoffis

I always enjoy Anthony Seldon's books and, usually, his articles but "Hurrah for Blair..." was uncharacteristically misjudged.

He is wrong about local education authority "empires". They are long since gone. The austere officers whose admonitions I needed to take very seriously in the early 1980s had, by 2002, turned into cuddly advisers whom I could heed or ignore.

In the early 1980s, the ministry for education hardly impinged upon us. By 2002, however, incessant legislation and micromanagement by the education department had restrained our independence far more than the worst LEAs could achieve.

My four years as a governor of a local school since 2002 suggests that the Government has no intention of micromanaging less - eg citizenship, self-evaluation, TLRs, SIPs, whether we like them or not. The only freedom I can identify in the white paper is the greater freedom to compete for pupils - which few schools want.

Perhaps the warm embrace of Tony Zoffis has affected Anthony Seldon's judgement. Temporarily, I hope.

Martin Roberts Head of The Cherwell school, Oxford, 1981-2002 29 Frenchay Road Oxford

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