Soft-centred inspectors

18th February 2000 at 00:00
INSPECTORS from the Office for Standards in Education have a reputation for being hard nuts. But some, it seems, have soft centres - if the experience of one primary school is anything to go by.

The team which inspected tiny Abberley primary school in deepest Worcestershire were so im-pressed by the welcoming atmosphere that they left behind a thank-you card and a box of chocolates.

Abberley is so tiny that the four inspectors had to set up camp in the village hall across the way. The school has only 77 pupils and four teachers, including the head, and has no staffroom, head's office - or canteen.

The school's hospitality extended to taking the inspectors' orders for sandwiches at lunchtime and running down to the village garage to pick them up.

t was second time round for Jenny Taylor, brought in as acting head after the previous head fell ill. The OFSTED team which inspected her last school, Wilden first school in Stourport, also left a box of chocs.

"We were very surprised, but extremely grateful," she said. "Inspectors aren't all the same, are they? But I think it depends how you treat them," she added.

"If you accept the inspection's going to happen and look after them, they'll look after you."

The chocolates were not the inspectors' only comment on their stay. The report - which has just arrived - also praises the friendly atmosphere. It stands as a slightly more permanent thank-you for the week. As Mrs Taylor admits: "The chocolates didn't last long..."

Nicolas Barnard

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