Facts to warm a head's heart

18th December 1998 at 00:00
HEADTEACHERS furious with the inspection regime will be intrigued to learn the high-tech methods the Office for Standards in Education uses to win them over, writes Sarah Cassidy.

An extensive database of "intimate" and "sensitive" information can summon data on every school at the push of a button and officials claim it can put angry callers at ease.

Christine Agambar, Ofsted's head of research, said: "Often heads ring and are abusive about inspections. Luckily our system can disarm them of their anxiety very quickly.

"Our computer system is very effective and you can get detailed information on the screen as you talk to them.

"You can say 'did you manage to carpet your hall? Did you decide on blue or green?' It makes them feel more at ease that you know their situation."

Ofsted's database contains confidential information from every inspector's notebook, much of which is not included in the published reports.

Officials have information on standards, teaching and school finance at their fingertips as well as comments on furnishings or the size of the school's playing field.

Ms Agambar said: "It is a very useful resource. We have got a very intimate information. We have a set of grades from each school which encapsulate the quality in different areas.

"We even have a list of schools suitable for Royal visits because their fields are large enough for a helicopter to land in."

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