Cruel OFSTED

1st March 1996 at 00:00
Your leading article of February 9 was, in the words of Mr Justice Scott, ludicrous. "I thank thee judge for teaching me that word." I am quoting Shakespeare who was English, I think, to show I am not parochial. Chris Woodhead of OFSTED merely extrapolates from a small selection of schools to the whole school community in England. This is acceptable if he uses normal statistical procedures. He did not. Thus his conclusions are good for a parliamentary response denouncing teachers but of little value otherwise.

If Mr Woodhead's job is to make things better in schools then the television programme on how inspection took place in one particular school will not do it. It was an exercise in cruelty with teachers being reduced to tears and a cold attitude which negated any possibility of establishing rapport, so that a follow-up would be beneficial. There is probably as much inspection of schools in Scotland as in England. The value in Scotland is in careful follow-up and trying to improve what is not good.

IAN MORRIS

31 Ravelston Dykes Edinburgh

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