Let people see the OFSTED data

3rd May 1996 at 01:00
No one who works in, or educates their children in, the public education system will take pleasure in your report of Colin Richards' attack upon the chief inspector of schools (TES, April 19). If Mr Richards is correct in his assertion that the chief inspector "distorted and manipulated" statistics, there is no doubting the disreputable state into which the Office for Standards in Education has fallen. However, Mr Richards may be wrong.

The only way to shed light on this whole sorry business is for the OFSTED database to be opened up to scrutiny by schools, education authorities and academics. If the data were published, it would be a far more useful tool for securing the improvement of schools, which is the reason given for its existence.

There can no longer be any justification for one rule for the schools and another for the inspectors. Chief education officers would welcome the chance to work with OFSTED on such an initiative.

HEATHER DU QUESNAY President Society of Education Officers 17-21 Chorlton Street Manchester

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