Steve Peacey is enjoying his first term in five years without Ofsted inspectors scrutinising his school.
The head of Abbey middle school, Bedford, has spent the past five years in schools with either serious weaknesses or in special measures.
The 235-pupil school which has 36 per cent of pupils on free meals and serves the socially deprived area of south Bedford came out of special measures at the end of last term.
The school was deemed to have serious weaknesses in November 2001 and 10 months later was put in special measures.
It has had four inspections under the new framework. Mr Peacey said: "There is no doubt that it is stricter. It is easier to achieve an unsatisfactory lesson as there are a larger number of triggers to make it unsatisfactory.
"We worked extremely hard to meet the criteria - but you have to work hard to get out of special measures anyway."
Mr Peacey, who joined the school in September 2001, said: "It depends on the team you get. The first inspector was quite kind and understood the problems the school was facing, but in October 2002 one of the inspectors did not have much of a sense of humour and just seemed to tick boxes.
"Schools going into special measures tend to be in socially deprived areas.
Ofsted does not make any allowances for that."
Previously Mr Peacey was deputy head at Lea Manor high, Luton, which went into special measures in 2000 and came out in 2002.