Border heads angry at HMI

26th June 1998 at 01:00
Primary headteachers in the Borders have protested to the Inspectorate about the standard of a presentation on target setting.

They describe "a top-down giving of instructions, delivered in a patronising and sometimes aggressive manner".

The letter to Douglas Osler, head of the Inspectorate, says that the team led by Frank Crawford, the chief inspector in charge of the Audit Unit, failed to answer the heads' questions, especially those relating to small rural schools.

The letter adds: "We found the presentation extremely dull and coldly delivered. For any headteacher who had read the target setting document, much of the morning was a waste of time."

The heads state their commitment to raising attainment levels. But they describe the education system as "ever more centrally directed, and (one) where there is a single set of right answers handed down from above".

Sheena Vannan, headteacher of Philiphaugh Community School, Selkirk, and chair of the association, told the TES Scotland that many of her colleagues had come away "thoroughly demoralised". The HMIs' answers were "pat or political", and heads of small schools had been told that they should deal with targets in their "clusters".

"But how can we do that," Mrs Vannan asked, "when we are responsible for standards in only one school, our own?" Mr Osler wrote back expressing "disappointment" at reaction to the seminar, which had been carefully planned and contained an "extensive" question and answer session. Evaluation forms showed that three-quarters of participants rated the keynote address good or very good, with the workshops described as good or very good by 60 per cent. The question on small schools had not been ignored: the seminar was told a national officer is preparing advice to be available in the autumn.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now