On the way forward for inspections

21st May 2004 at 01:00
While I much enjoyed John Dunford's colourful language about "intransigent, inflexible and insensitive" school inspectors (TES, May 7), his article exposes a deeper issue.

The general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association describes the proposed new Office for Standards in Education model as the "validation", but light-touch inspection, of a school's "thorough self-evaluation", but then goes on to admit that many schools will need to "raise their game on self-evaluation".

This will not be achieved quickly or easily in schools where an established "top-down" leadership style discourages admission of weaknesses or hinders wider staff involvement in honest self-review. The new Ofsted system will only work where the management culture of such schools is changed - it's a very real challenge to heads, too.

John Chowcat General secretary National Association of Educational Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants Woolley Hall Woolley, West Yorkshire

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