Editor's comment

30th May 2008 at 01:00
There are some people who will never be wowed by the greeting: "I'm an inspector and I'm here to help you
There are some people who will never be wowed by the greeting: "I'm an inspector and I'm here to help you." For sceptical heads and stressed teachers, Graham Donaldson may be the cuddly good shepherd of the inspectorate but it is his team of rottweilers who come knocking on their door and determine their fate.

Mr Donaldson this week moved to try and dispel some of the grievances and caricatures. He did so in uncharacteristically blunt style, dismissing some criticisms of his regime as "urban myths" and saying he had "little sympathy" for those who claimed schools were over-scrutinised. But it is not just HMIE which inspects: schools also face quality checks of varying kinds by local authorities.

Of course, there will always be tensions between external inspection and school evaluation, even if HMIE hopes to ease that slightly by what Mr Donaldson calls "maximum impact with minimum intrusion". Nonetheless, he hopes the measures announced today will go some distance to reassure schools that the inspectorate is offering them more support than ever before. His charm offensive with the leaders of the profession seems to have worked so far, and the task now is to convince their followers.

The truth is that schools will come alongside the inspectorate only when they feel they have co-ownership of the whole accountability regime - or co-responsibility perhaps. For Mr Donaldson to say that inspection should be seen as a constructive process and an opportunity to work with schools is a major step in that direction. "Support and challenge" will always be a difficult balancing act, and it often has all the comfort of a high-wire act.

If, however, this "de-cluttering" of the audit system reinforces the much-vaunted decluttering of the curriculum, it might lead schools at last to the promised land of creative and innovative teaching.

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