Evaluation is not always helpful, Walter Beveridge, depute senior chief inspector, joked when he addressed the research community's annual forum (page four).
Beveridge, soon to retire after 23 years as an HMI, recalled that at the end of one course on teacher appraisal participants were asked to name its worst feature. The most frequent answers were the size of the folders, the attitude of two "know-it-all" headteachers, the heat in the room and the cold in the room.
The best features were the tutors and interaction with peers, plus one commendation for "the tutor's legs". Beveridge claims that this was not necessarily a sexist remark in the usual sense since one of the tutors was male and in a kilt.