HMI's bolt from the blue

19th May 2000 at 01:00
WHEN Michael O'Neill, director in North Lanarkshire and sometime critic of HM Inspectors, praises their professionalism, commitment and attempts to work in genuine partnership, you know there's a sting in the tail.

Addressing Catholic headteachers last week (page four), O'Neill questioned whether external inspection actually changes organisations and recalled a scary flight back into Glasgow Airport at Easter. P> "As the plane rose through the clouds, there was an enormous bang and the whole plane shook, knuckles whitened, muscles tensed, religion rediscovered."

A few moments later the pilot calmly explained the plane had been struck by lightning, but there was nothing to worry about. The lightning had struck the front and gone right through and out the back with no lasting effect.

"I thought - HMI."

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