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How to meet the inspectors - and survive

From David Gower

On the first day of our Office for Standards in Education inspection last week, I unwrapped a surprise gift from my daughter. Inside was a box containing the complete OFSTED survival kit. Not only was it good to know someone was thinking of me at a time of stress, it must have worked because we have been promised an excellent report.

The complete OFSTED survival kit includes:

* clean handkerchief (when your embarrassment is too great);

* pencil case (when none of your pens are working);

* toy trumpet (who else will blow the head's?);

* Mars bar (to keep the energy levels boosted);

* bubble mixture (for a little light relief);

* key ring (a talking point when words fail);

* tin of five chocolate bars (a treat a day);

* silver coins (for a little bribery and corruption);

* Rennie tablets (when your stomach is joining in the conversation);

* matches (for a few bright sparks);

* pocket solitaire (to while away those anxious moments)

* plasters (to gain a little extra sympathy)

* notebook (to record all those good things they said);

* pair of spectacles (to enable you to view things through rose-coloured glasses);

* storybook (a little relaxing reading);

* ball of string (for tying up unruly pupils, teachers and inspectors)

* bottle of whisky (for medicinal purposes, of course);

* plastic tumbler (for when you're drinking apple juice);

* marbles (to replace any that get lost);

* toy shark (named OFSTED; will bite if not properly attended to).

DAVID GOWER Headteacher, Kingsway High School, Kingsway, Newton, Chester, Cheshire.

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