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Bar must be raised for Ofsted too

The chief inspector's annual report (TES, November 24) is a reasonably balanced document that is generally positive. Predictably, the media have seized on her remarks that "the challenge of dealing with some persistent weaknesses remains. Too many schools are inadequate." Equally predictably, she has allowed herself to be dominated by the negative in interviews.

As a partial explanation for inadequate schools, the report says "the new inspection arrangements have raised the bar". Quite right, too. As schools improve, more should be expected of them. But "raising the bar" needs also to apply to Ofsted. Where is the evidence that Ofsted has raised the expectations of its inspectors or improved its new-style inspections on which its credibility ultimately rests?

The report reflects the imposition of standardised inspection on non-standardised schools. Its Mao-style template cannot cope with the growth points in practice or unusual, inspiring or fascinating developments in the system. The report (and the regime it reflects) is satisfactory with some poor, and a few good, features. Too many inspections are "inadequate".

Professor Colin Richards

Spark Bridge

Cumbria

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