Inspectors are not the enemy

1st March 2013 at 00:00

Like Mike Kent ("A worrying wonderland", Comment, 15 February), I am a former teacher and head. Unlike Mr Kent, I was appointed HMI in 2002. Since then I have inspected hundreds of schools and met as many teachers, heads, parents and pupils.

Inspection is neither "aggressive" nor "data-led" and we change our practice in response to what schools tell us. We want all schools to be good and we want all children to do well. The changes we have recently introduced reflect our ambition to make inspection a greater force for good. Inspection shines a spotlight on good and weak practice alike. No one who has ever inspected, or even been inspected, can seriously claim that it has not benefited children in some way.

I simply do not accept that an inspector refused to judge as outstanding a lesson taught by a talented teacher because "every child behaved impeccably and the inspector was not able to see how she would deal with a troublesome child". If it were true, that inspector would never work for Ofsted again. I would like to offer Mr Kent an invitation from one former head to another: let's get you up to date. Come on out on an inspection so you can see for yourself how it really works.

Michael Cladingbowl, HMI, national director of schools, Ofsted.

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