Mistrust is a latent dog fight

It's a classic case of the biter bit. Ofsted inspectors who write critical school reports can scarcely complain when their judgments are challenged by headteachers who believe they have been unfairly treated. For the Government, the hotline set up by the National Association of Head Teachers allowing members to shop "unprofessional" inspectors is an unintended consequence of the accountability culture it has sought to create in the education service.

But while many heads will welcome the union's new service, Offwatch (page 1), it represents a growing and potentially corrosive mistrust between school leaders and government. If ministers are serious about professional partnership, they must start to deliver the support schools need, as well as the pressure of inspections, to help them improve. If they fail to do so, they could find their favourite police dog challenged by a pretty mean Rottweiler.

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