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I really should have known better. My mother was a headteacher, as was my brother, so what did I do? I married a teacher. In a lot of respects it's great: her holidays are usually the same as our children's and the hours are not that bad (trust me, they're not). Our marriage is a good one. But then what happens? Ofsted arrives.

Teachers suddenly become totally irrational, irritable and impossible to live with. Why? What is so different about having a few inspectors in? Let's be honest: the Government cannot close every school, and if every head refused to let the inspectors into their schools, what would they do?

But still the inspectors arrive, and instead of my normal, happy, humdrum lifestyle, the world is turned upside down.

Ofsted is due early this term at the large comprehensive where my wife is an assistant head, and so her working hours extend considerably. As for food, warmth and affection, forget it. There is no time; home life is taken up by constant telephone calls on subjects such as what the inspector is like. How so-and-so in geography taught an appalling lesson. And what do these people know about teaching anyway?

Any attempt to raise another subject, such as the children, what I have been doing today or that the cat has been sick on the duvet is met with blank looks followed by 20-minute speeches on how the inspectors have spent far too long in the English department and looked at only one PE lesson. For the more scurrilous, this would be an ideal time to have an affair. Your partner wouldn't notice.

The ordeal goes on for days. There are always important meetings to discuss how the day went. For goodness sake, you know how it went, the inspectors were in. You can't change anything now.

It becomes steadily worse. By Wednesday, any early week optimism - "we'll be all right" - has evaporated. "Mum's got Ofsted," I tell the children when they ask why she's in a bad mood again.

"Is Ofsted a disease?" my daughter asked during the last inspection. It most certainly is. And when the final day of Ofsted arrives, what does the teaching profession do? Is it home to the neglected husband and children, a chance finally to acknowledge their existence? Not a chance. Instead, it's time for a party. And who do you invite? Just yourselves, of course, and what (please let me guess) do you talk about?

However, as an experienced Ofsted campaigner, I'm resorting to Plan B. The children, the cat and little old me are moving out. We will stay anywhere - a hotel, bed and breakfast, the mother-in-law's - where there is not a single teacher. This time I am ready. When Monday morning of Ofsted week comes around, I am off. "See you on Saturday," I will cry while she makes the early morning strategy call to her head.

I am perfectly safe in the knowledge I won't get a reply.

Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson lives in Kent

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