Make the inspectors teach

6th April 2001 at 01:00
As a letter to the Secretary of State for Education would be intercepted and prompt a bland reply from a civil servant, we thought we would write to The TES in the hope that our suggestion for raising standards in schools stands a better chance of reaching Mr Blunkett's ears.

We recommend that the Office for Standards in Education insist that all inspectors have at least one year's full-time teaching experience in the past five years, preferably with an under-achieving class.

This may have a number of benefits. It could, for instance:

* reduce significantly and quickly the number of teachers lacking in our schools;

* provide a role model for existing teachers;

* have a greater impact on attrating former teachers back into the classroom than the financial incentives, as the number of OFSTED inspections would naturally reduce, at least for a year; and * bring OFSTED inspectors up to date with the reality of the impact on teaching of initiatives in recent years and the resulting demands on teachers, thus furthering their credibility with the teaching profession.

Whilst not doubting the effect on standards that OFSTED inspections can have, there is no greater threat to standards in our schools than a shortage of experienced, skilled, appropriately trained and suitably qualified professionals.

Ian and Nancy Blood

The Maples

6 Leighton Road




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