Have you noticed?

28th March 2003 at 00:00
Our Office for Standards in Education team, astonishingly, was just as human, approachable and positive as it said it would be.

One expects to hear phrases such as "very enjoyable week" and "constructive professional dialogue" being used by the inspectors, but when the school staff are using them too, you begin to believe in the new, user-friendly Ofsted.

They commented favourably on all the things we are most proud of and gave us credit for being aware of our weaknesses and having put into place effective methods for tackling them. We have a lot of work to do, but the way the inspection was handled made us feel that our current underachievement gave us enormous potential for further development - the classic management-course trick of turning every threat into an opportunity.

In fact, I am so impressed that I have decided that when I run out of babies I shall train as a lay Ofsted inspector. I know I risk a certain amount of social ostracism, but as a childminder I am used to that. We are the ones who chain babies in front of the television while we chain-smoke and read magazines. Ofsted inspectors are relatively respectable. Almost on a par with traffic wardens.

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