The contrariness of Christopher W

11th March 2005 at 00:00
In 1966 Chris Woodhead was a student at Bristol university.

In 1997 he attacked universities which run "Noddy courses", giving the example of equine studies, taught at Bristol university.

In the 1970s he was a secondary-school English teacher.

In 1993 he lambasted the "trendy" progressive teaching methods he supported while working as a teacher.

In the early 1980s he was a PGCE tutor at Oxford university and gave out apples to pupils to inspire creative writing.

By 2002 he was attacking non-traditional teacher training as "dangerous nonsense".

He served as a deputy chief education officer of Devon, then Cornwall, between 1988 and 1991.

In 1996 he questioned the point of education authorities, warning they can create "a dependency culture".

In 1991 he was chief executive of the National Curriculum Council.

This week he criticised the national curriculum, saying that it emphasises political correctness and downplays English history.

In 1993 he became chief executive of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Nine years later, he complained that exams were easier, standards were falling and we were "in an education cloud-cuckoo-land".

In 1994 he became chief inspector.

In 2001 he warned that the integrity of Ofsted was in danger of being "sacrificed on the altar of teachers' morale", adding: "Ofsted might as well be abolished now."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today