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Ofsted: less of an ogre and more of an eye-opener

Your recent pieces on inspection, testing at key stage 2 and school accountability leave me with a growing feeling that many of your contributors and a small minority of heads are living in a parallel universe.

Many parents who work in the private sector have already lost their final salary pensions, have had no pay rise this year and no prospect of one in the next, and live in fear of losing their job.

Meanwhile, were one to believe the vociferous few who appear in the pages of The TES, teachers want to be less accountable, want to be inspected less, don't want the performance of their school judged against others and would like a pay rise, too.

Parents would rise up in fury if we were to abandon testing. And then there's Ofsted, which also helps parents make up their minds about a school. In his zeal for its abolition, Chris Woodhead clearly forgets that, when he was chief inspector, twice as many of his contracted inspectors spent twice as long in schools as inspectors spend now. Ofsted seems to have cut its costs, if nothing else.

Let's all grow up and relish accountability before parents get so fed up that half the state schools in the country find themselves in competition with parentally inspired independent schools, fully funded by the state.

Lisa Whittet, Winterborne Whitechurch, Dorset.

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