No energy left to complain;Letters;News amp; opinion

5th November 1999 at 00:00
ELAINE Rassaby, the complaints adjudicator for the Office for Standards in Education should not be surprised by the lack of complaints in her first year (TES, October 22). Having coped with the depression and demoralisation that sets in after an inspection that has gone wrong, the last thing most heads and governors want to do is to replay the whole thing through a lengthy and complicated complaints procedure.

As a chair of the governors, I made an official complaint to OFSTED which hadtwo main aspects. On one, I received an apology after three months and an assurance that the bureaucratic mismanagement and delays we suffered from OFSTED headquarters regarding faulty data, should now be a thing of the past. Good news for others, but no help to us.

The second aspect of our complaint, which related to the registered inspector's conduct did not receive a response for eight months. At this point, we received a letter saying that the registered inspector had denied everything and claimed to have been unaware of our dissatisfaction until reading of it in the local press. My fellow governors laughed in disbelief at this: they were there when I tackled her on the issues concerned.

By this time, two of our five teachers had resigned and left the teaching profession; a third has "hung on" but lost that "sparkle" that pupils and parents had so valued and loved.

Why did I not pursue it further? I and my fellow governors were by now heartily sick of all things OFSTED. Instead, I stepped down as chair in a state of exhaustion and we all agreed that no good could come out of digging everything up all over again. Cowards perhaps, but we retired, licking our wounds, determined to get on with the really important job of educating the children.

Rachel M Swaffield

12 The Meads


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