Ofsted in Wonderland

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Have chief inspector David Bell and his senior colleagues in the Office for Standards in Education been employing a latter-day Lewis Carroll to help them prepare the latest inspection guidance?

In it we are told that "generally satisfactory" really means "unsatisfactory" when applied to the quality of teaching (TES, September 5). Does this mean that "generally good" now means only "satisfactory" and "generally very good" only "good" ?

In re-writing the Queen's English into the Queen of Hearts' English, Ofsted is inadvertently undermining its own rhetoric. In the past it has made much of the claim that a large percentage of heads and governors are "generally satisfied" with the inspection process. Presumably, on this latest interpretation of "generally satisfactory" this really means that they were dissatisfied! If so, shouldn't the process be fundamentally re-considered?

Professor Colin Richards 1 Bobbin Mill Spark Bridge, Cumbria

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today