Woodhead must go, says council chief

26th June 1998 at 01:00
MANCHESTER'S Labour council leader has called for the resignation of Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, following the release of last week's damning report on the city's education service.

It was published 10 days before the city expected. Roy Jobson, chief education officer, only received an official copy last Tuesday - a week after it was issued to the media.

Richard Leese, leader of the city council , accused Mr Woodhead of pursuing a political agenda.

He told The TES: "I think Woodhead should leave his post as soon as possible. He seems to have set himself a one-man target to destroy public education in this country as rapidly as possible. The sooner he is stopped the better."

While accepting most findings in the Office for Standards in Education report, politicians and senior officers in the city are angry about its emphasis and the manner of its publication. Manchester will ask the Local Government Association to raise its complaints with the Government.

Mr Jobson said: "I am disappointed that the work of both schools and the authority in bringing about improvements (such as halving the budget deficit during the past year) despite difficult social and economic circumstances was not highlighted.

"We are not trying to wriggle out of criticism. We think the report identifies serious issues that need to be looked at," he added.

These include poor exam and test results, high levels of exclusion and truancy, and failure to provide education for pupils not in school. Managers are also accused of delays in decision-making.

An Ofsted spokesman said: "These are absurd allegations. Chris Woodhead only has one agenda and that is to raise the standard of public education."

He added that the criticism was the kneejerk response of a local authority whose competence had been questioned.

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