Two out of 10 for spelling

17th January 1997 at 00:00
Last October, you referred to instances of illiteracy in an Office for Standards in Education report (TES, October 18). My governing body feels you should know this was not an isolated case.

The draft of our school report was some weeks late and when it arrived it was with a letter asking the head and chair of governors to check not only facts but also spelling and punctuation. We soon realised why.

There was incorrect and inconsistent use of tenses. Split infinitives were well represented. The spelling was wonderful: "their" for there, "maintainance" for maintenance, "Van Gough" for Van Gogh. The names of the school and the head were both wrong. Full-stops, commas and apostrophes were distributed randomly. There was plain bad English. There were nearly 200 mistakes in 32 pages - an average of six per page.

The report itself was favourable and the inspectors personable.

But there were other aspects of their performance, in particular the consistency of judgment and the feedback, that surprised us. Generally, we got the impression of a job being rushed.

We wrote to the inspectors with our concerns. A written response was promised but never came.

We returned the OFSTED questionnaire but have heard nothing. So we ask, as the Romans did, "Quis custodiet custodes?" - who guards the guardians?

In the harrying culture that OFSTED has made its own, we feel that a standard so unsound and out of line with national expectations on the part of the inquisitors needs an explanation.

JIM FLOOD Chair of Governors Glenaire First School Thompson Lane Baildon Shipley West Yorkshire

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