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Frustrations of the top job should not deter aspiring leaders

Last week's TES Magazine highlighted the issues heads face in school inspections ("Too tough at the top", January 29). When you consider their high-quality teaching, outstanding leadership and care for their pupils, I am troubled by the possibility that some of the finest schools in the country might be deemed to have "failed" by the current inspection standards.

There are signs that some inspectors for state and independent schools seem more concerned with ticking boxes on a policy and have lost sight of the real focus - the quality of education provision.

No one can excuse a school from non-compliance, but when that sort of judgment might be made because a few words are missing from a document, it appears some inspectors have become overly pedantic in their interpretation of school policy.

It seems inevitable that some excellent schools will be seen to be "failing", when in the eyes of pupils, parents and staff they are not. I hope this might prompt inspectorates to conduct a reappraisal of their judgments and spare school staff the frustration and anger they must feel at the lack of respect for the excellent work they do every day.

Mr David Hanson, Chief executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

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