A heads' leader has damned comments by Ofsted's chief inspector of schools that one in four secondary heads isn't good enough as "a bit rich".
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT heads' union said Sir Michael Wilshaw's comments, reported in today's Sunday Times, were "not a constructive way to start a national debate".
Sir Michael said: “One in four — a quarter — of leaders in secondary schools are not good enough. We have to do something about that . . . I want high academic achievement, a culture of no excuses and an atmosphere of scholarship".
The comments echo those made in the 1990s by Chris Woodhead, who as a chief inspector of schools controversially claimed that 15,000 teachers weren't good enough.
"I want every comprehensive school to have a grammar school ethos," Sir Michael went on. "I want to launch a national debate about the kind of head teachers we want and need.”
But Mr Hobby said school leaders would not welcome such comments: "Not a constructive way to start a national debate with insults. It is the kind of heavy-handed rhetoric that alienates school leaders from Ofsted.
"His comments aren't supported by Ofsted's own data. There is a disconnect between what inspectors are seeing on the ground and what he is saying."
Mr Hobby went on to point out that the inspectorate had had its own performance problems. "It is a bit rich making these statements about 25 per cent of heads when he has overseen an organisation that has just had to get rid of 40 per cent of its inspectors."
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, echoed Mr Hobby's comments.
"Ofsted’s statements should be based on evidence, not assertion. Ofsted’s own figures and reports refute this claim.
"At a time when the recruitment of headteachers is exceptionally challenging with many posts attracting at best single figures this kind of sensationalist report does nothing to help us to achieve the ambitious vision headteachers are working so tirelessly to turn into a reality for our education system."