Mrs Shephard went on to state that teaching is an enjoyable profession, that she had found it so. An interesting comment - her teaching days were before the present set-up, and according to her Desert Islands Discs contribution, she taught for all of two years. She then added, in the Radio 4 interview, that teaching must be popular because vacancies are falling. If they are, might this be because schools cannot afford to employ the number of teachers they need?
I wondered why Mrs Shephard referred at least three times during the interview to the "independent inspectorate". To my knowledge HM Inspectorate was always independent. Much more so, I suspect, because the idea of political correctness had not yet dawned upon the educational scene.
It was John Patten who began extolling independence as one of the virtues of the new inspectorate. Yet in the booklet HMI Today and Tomorrow issued by the Department of Education in 1970, the first sentence reads: "Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Schools is so called to preserve historic continuity and because the title reflects that measure of independence which they have always exercised".
The rest of that first paragraph and the two following in the booklet summarise the nature of the independence that had been exercised by the inspectorate for more than 130 years.