Results count

When an inspector calls on council education departments or schools, it may well be time to reach for the bottle of malt, check pension entitlements and alternative life options - to continue the stress-related theme. Accountability has never been higher and top jobs in the directorate or schools are on the line should the inspectors consider there is significant room for improvement.

Few headteachers survive a mauling. They are persuaded to take early retirement packages, moved sideways into the authority to co-ordinate resource production or whatever but definitely out of the front- line service. Authorities would be failing in their duties to seek improvement if they did not act.

Similarly, there are growing casualties among the directorate after the inspectors trawl through local government (page three). Councillors and chief executives demand only the best possible service and are growing increasingly ruthless in easing out senior staff. It is significant that senior management changes have followed the three poorest HMI reports. That does not include the Scottish Borders, where four out of five directors have left, or are leaving after its education crisis.

Results count, and you are out if they go against you. From the public perspective, however, tough action to raise management standards will play well.

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