Inspectors do not seek confrontation

13th July 2001 at 01:00
Mike Kent's article on his Ofsted inspection (Friday, June 29) needs comment to redress the balance.

I am not involved in education, but I do have three children of school age and three stepchildren. More importantly, my wife is an Ofsted RGI. I do not know Mr Kent's school, or the specific issues raised in his article, but I do know the way that RGIs work.

They are, for instance, routinely monitored by Ofsted. The article gives the impression that the monitoring was only as a result of Mr Kent's complaint being partially upheld. This is an inaccurate impression.

Since Ofsted reports are written to a template, they may well appear broadly similar in layout, but are never "pasted-over" from any previous report.

All inspectors take their jobs seriously, and make children their focus. They are interested in teachers' attitudes and prejudices only in so far as they might affect the children.

The article paints the Ofsted inspection team as incompetent, aggressive and uncaring. Strange; that's how teachers sometimes appear to inspectors. When a room full of governors, senior school management, and the headteacher do not have the manners to say goodbye as an RGI leaves, I'm left wondering exactly who the children are.

RGIs do not see inspections as confrontations; they see them as mutual caring for the children involved. On a number of occasions, following a special measures assessment, heads have contacted my wife and thanked her for helping them to improve conditions.

And inspectors rarely finish their working day before 1am when on an inspection (in my experience anyway). Great care is taken over the way the report is written, and decisions are only taken after thorough and intelligent discussion, together with evidence.

To me, if teachers and RGIs understood that they have the common goal of better education, then the world would be a calmer and more productive place.

David Crozier (address supplied) Send your letters to Jill Craven, Friday magazine, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. Or email:

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