More useful originals in HMIE, please

18th January 2008 at 00:00
Headteacher Niall McKinnon ("Scrutiny on the Bounty," TESS, December 2128) may be the first brave enough to criticise publicly the HMIE inspection process and honest enough to highlight the glaring anomalies between the excellence of Assessment is for Learning applied in schools and the fault-finding, tick-list approach applied to schools.

Teachers are not complacent reactionaries; most are willing to try out, evaluate and adopt the best of new ideas in education. Teaching is an active, creative, vital job. If HMIE abandoned its dummies and came into schools with open minds and hearts, quick and generous in its praise of what is good in our schools, with helpful suggestions and practical advice on how to build on what is good, its visitations might be welcome and of real benefit to schools, staff and pupils.

Tick lists and ready-made "convenience" statements are, however, easier for the bureaucratic mind - and HMIE will doubtless prefer to defend an existence of entrenched ease than live the life of useful service envisaged by originals like Niall McKinnon.

H Wilson, Tor an Eas, Glenfinnan, Lochaber.

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