Wipe away tears

10th November 2000 at 00:00
O, farewell then Christopher Anthony Woodhead, no longer to be The Man Who Inspects Schools For The Queen.

In gratitude for the many piquant moments he has given the Diary, it seemed appropriate to record some of the best.

Chris first graced the pages of The TES on March 12, 1976, when he wrote an impressively progressive piece entitled "No bells, no sanctions" about a residential creative writing course while he was head of English at Gordano School in Somerset.

In the six years since becoming chief inspector, he has been mentioned in 1,368 articles, beating Tony Blair (1,274), bt still trailing the champion, Education Secretary David Blunkett (2,825).

Selecting the highlights is difficult, but here are somefavourite Woodheadisms. For instance, theassertion that there was "no inspections evidence to suggest that schools were, on the whole, under-funded to do the job they were expected to do".

His quip that "it is ridiculous to assume a school is necessarily going to improve because it has been inspected", (notwithstanding OFSTED's slogan:

"Improvement through inspection"). His kindly concession that: "I do not pretend it is easy for teachers."

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