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Sky-high ideals for inspection

The problems of the Ofsted process and the lack of credibility of inspectors has long been known ("How do you mend Ofsted?", February 12). I have argued that the people who should inspect schools and teachers should be outstanding headteachers and senior staff who are currently serving in successful schools. They are the ones who have credibility.

Professional pilots are arguably more rigorously and more frequently examined than teachers. I have a pal who is the senior training examiner for a major European airline. I spoke to a couple of senior captains who he had given a particularly gruelling time in the simulator. How realistic did they think the particular session was? "Oh, not at all," they said, "you'd never get all those emergencies altogether in a real flight ..."

So what did they think of my pal, the chief examiner? "Well, he has to assess us to see if we could cope with multiple emergencies, however unlikely," they said, before adding, "and anyway, he had to show he could do it himself when he was assessed just a month ago!"

Peter Stammers, Banstead, Surrey.

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