John Wilson, East Renfrewshire's director, has taken exception to comments by Brian Boyd of Strathclyde University who questioned HMIE's process of inspecting authorities. He suggested that it focused too much on testing and examination results rather than whether schools were "educating the whole child".
Mr Wilson has written a letter of complaint to Professor Boyd and copied it to a number of other parties as well as issuing a press release headlined "Education chief throws down gauntlet to academic", which challenged Professor Boyd to accompany him on a visit to any of his schools.
Professor Boyd, well-known for his advocacy of ideas such as emotional literacy and mind-mapping techniques, told BBC's Reporting Scotland: "We need to look at recognising the achievements across the board and not have a narrow focus on things that can lead to league tables."
He told The TES Scotland he did not want to "get into a public slanging match" but felt Mr Wilson's response had been "disproportionate".