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Somewhere a place for us

Q Mine is the kind of problem that seems trivial but can add to the stress of inspection. How can accommodation be provided for an inspection team when there is no room to spare, apart from releasing the headteacher's room for the week?

A The inspectors literally "have to put themselves out". There can be no question of releasing the head's room for a week; to do so would certainly disrupt the normal business of the school, which is the very thing inspection seeks to avoid.

Of course the team will need to meet for particular purposes and schools will wish not merely to be hospitable but to facilitate the work of the inspection. So creative compromises need to be made; inspectors can meet early, before teachers begin the work of the day, in the hall if there is one, or in an agreed classroom, can conduct business after school in vacant rooms, and may be able to use the head's room at agreed times when she is otherwise engaged.

Inspectors may be able to meet at lunchtimes off the premises and can walk outside in fine weather. Their ingenuity knows no bounds, and you can rely on their sympathy in this situation. And the essential cup of tea or coffee will taste as good in a corridor as in the most well-appointed room.

Bill Laar is a registered inspector. Questions should be addressed to him co The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY with the name and address of the sender (these will not be published).

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