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Good inspection

With reference to the report (TES, April 7) about the proposal to allow lay inspectors to lead inspection teams, it is interesting to note the comments about the "credibility of inspection process" when there have been so many comments about the poor way of reporting by the present registered inspectors.

It must be remembered that the vast majority of lay inspectors were managers, in their previous job, often in top positions. They did not learn their skills by attending courses, but by the use of eyes, ears and the tongue, studying events, listening to what was happening, talking and directing, often from the "shop floor".

Every lay inspector that has communicated with us has stated the system was wrong.

A manager should always be available but under the present inspection of schools the RegI, or the manager in charge of the inspection, was often tied up with a classroom, watching what was going on, taking notes, talking to pupils and teachers, often during the lunch period, whereas a lay inspector was more available, often walking about the school.

Teaching staff, governors, parents and other people engaged in school activities have commented that lay inspectors are easier to talk with, more responsive and alert to what was happening within a school.

There is a need to change the system and there is a great deal of common sense in the Chief Inspector's suggestions.

Of course research will have to be undertaken and additional training will be required, but let us study the proposals, hear what is involved and ask all sections of the educational system for their views. Let's put our heads together and give schools a good "independent" inspection system.

COLIN BURGESS

Secretary

The National Association of Lay Inspectors in Schools

110 Hayes Lane,

Kenley, Surrey

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