Ofsted: rude to show up unannounced?

27th March 2009 at 00:00

Shock horror - inspectors arrive at the school unannounced ("Ofsted's first 'dawn raid': the verdict", March 20). What's the problem? Union members panicking because they are discovered in the bike sheds having a fag, while 10a are engaged on their first worksheet? The senior management team drinking coffee while cover supervisors take their groups?

As a former head and performance management adviser, I have no problem with snap inspections. Schools are accountable to the taxpayers for their operation and "no notice" is the only way of discovering some of the warts.

Louise Whitgreave, head of St Anthony's, had nothing to hide from the inspectors and nor should any school worth its salt.

Painting the grass green and the playground black is commonplace when Ofsted gives warning of an inspection. I recall a school in Bedfordshire where the front window frames of the school were painted by the caretaker and a gang of "naughty" Year 10s and 11s; the area around the main entrance was re-turfed and shrubs planted; the toilets were painted and a new rug bought for the staffroom. The head even wallpapered his office and fitted new carpet.

Obviously Ofsted knows this sort of papering over the cracks goes on, hence the move. Dedicated staff in the majority of schools should have nothing to fear.

Tony Callaghan, Director of Teachers in Classrooms, Alpington, Norfolk.

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