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Shocking haste of inspectorate's 'vindication'

I was shocked by the indecent haste with which HMIE announced its "vindication" in the tragic case of Irene Hogg.

A well-thought-of teacher dead, her death "inextricably linked" by the sheriff to the inspection of her school, her family and friends grief- stricken - and HMIE feels "vindicated". Is this the level of sensitivity it applies to inspections? It would seem so.

I am long retired from teaching, but wonder what this barbarous system of inspection hopes to achieve. What quality of performance can be expected from a head who has been publicly humiliated, broken in spirit and bereft of motivation?

Any good teacher knows better than to belittle a child. Decent individuals would never belittle another human being. The lowliest of us is entitled to be treated with dignity. Yet inspectors are empowered to create havoc in the lives of their colleagues.

In every other profession appraisals are, rightly, confidential. Not in teaching. A head's performance is public property, available in the local press for all to see. Why don't they just bring back the stocks?

In a rural school, where a head often lives locally, the humiliation is complete. Modern parents aren't familiar with the virtue of discretion, and discuss teachers openly in front of their children, who quickly absorb what they hear. Is it surprising that fewer teachers are applying for headships?

Claire Grant, Pitcalnie House, Nigg, Ross-shire.

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