Pull your socks up, sir

16th December 2011 at 00:00

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted chief designate, believes that teachers' dress should improve (Letters, 9 December). This may be true, but is expressed with scary undertones of enforced uniformity. Sometime ago while chastising a class of children for sloppy dress, I illustrated my point by exposing my tastefully clad ankle and pointing out that even my socks co-ordinated with my shirt. Subsequently almost every lesson I taught began with a cry of "Sock-check, Mr M!" - I always obliged. This cost me a fortune in Paul Smith socks but often ensured an attentive start to a subsequently rigorous lesson.

Yet my colleague in the next classroom riveted children by the sheer dramatic brilliance of her presentation, and a maths teacher down the corridor enthralled pupils by drawing a free hand parabola and tossing a boardmarker in the air to follow its path precisely. The truth is all good teachers teach differently and the subtle counterpoint they use in their work is not quantifiable by the relentless system of lists and performance indicators which is the lifeblood of an Ofsted inspection.

In the meantime, my socks are Ofsted-ready.

Harry Marsden, East Cliffe, Nr. Dover.

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