Woodhead as bogeyman

24th November 2000 at 00:00
THANK you for your coverage of Chris Woodhead's resignation. Although a headteacher of long-standing, it is now clear that I hadn't really understood the huge negative impact of his time in office.

For instance, I hadn't appreciated his sole responsibility for low teacher morale; for teachers leaving the profession; for the malaise of education authorities; and for teachers' stress (not to mention RailTrack; global warming; the fuel protest; or indeed the sinking of the Titanic).

So unfortunately I was unable, as were my staff, to share in the "glee" at the resignation of this "power-seeking missile" who "destabilised the educational establishment" with his skills of networking and media manipulation.

I now think I understandthat any achievements of the past six years were those of David Blunkett, Michaels Barber and Bichard and Anthea Millett, whereas all the blame belongs to Chris Woodhead. Is there a paradox here?

I had thought that Mr Woodhead led the challenge of successive governments to secure effective learning and teaching; the raising of standards; value for money; and the primacy of putting children first. I had thought that the "conflict" that comes at first from challenge was becoming a process of challenge and support.

I am left wondering what his "softer" successor will be able to be remembered for, if anything.

Tom Clark

Principal, George Spencer foundation school and technology college

Stapleford, Nottingham

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