Robots don't need to know

13th January 2006 at 00:00
Shock! Horror! Maurice Smith is to become the first head of Ofsted not to have classroom experience. What's the problem with that?

Everyone knows that Ofsted inspectors are not chosen for their excellence in classroom teaching or knowledge of the reality of the bog-standard comprehensive, or primary for that matter.

David Bell may well have been an outstanding practitioner in his day - so was I in the 70s and 80s - but schools have changed since 1997 and not for the better.

Those of us who remain close to the chalk face know that Ofsted inspectors, if they have had classroom experience, have not taught the current generation of pupils and have little or no understanding of the traumas of the classes of 2006.

The Ofsted masterplan involves a rigid "tick box" format that any programmed robot can fill in without understanding or emotion.

So Mr Smith is basically in charge of a team of robots. Why, then, does he need to have any classroom experience?

He will computerise the statistics and send them to Tony Blair, who will in turn, programme them into his brain for endless repetition at Prime Minister's questions.

Real teachers know that most bureaucrats in education would not last very long in the current classroom.

The youngest pupils today would "have them for breakfast". Mr Smith is a career education bureaucrat, like all his predecessors.

The fact that he would not cope with a class of youngsters in one of the schools he is responsible for inspecting is totally irrelevant.

Tony Callaghan 57 Portland Street Norwich Norfolk

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