EDUCATION Secretary David Blunkett rescued Chris Woodhead this week, after the Chief Inspector apologised for saying that affairs between teachers and pupils could be "educative".
Mr Blunkett said the "unfortunate incident I does not prevent him from continuing to do his job effectively".
Mr Woodhead's remarks - delivered during a question-and-answer session at Exeter University - came as Parliament considers legislation which would make it a criminal offence for teachers to have sexual relationships with 16 and 17-year-old pupils.
John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, was "appalled" by the comments. He added: "I think this is a bit of a Hoddle-ism, someone sounding off on a topic out of their remit."
The remarks prompted the Mirror to ask why Mr Woodhead should not suffer a similar fate to Glenn Hoddle whose "ill-considered remarks" cost him his job as England football coach. But most papers concluded the chief inspector's gaffe was not a firing offence.
The Sunday papers raked up the affair Mr Woodhead had had with a former pupil exposed by the News of the World in 1995. The woman involved, Amanda Johnston, issued a statement saying that the relationship was "one of equals and was in no way improper".