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Woodhead exits, not with a bang but a twinkle

Warwick Mansell is on hand to witness the chief inspector's swansong.

IT was billed as Chris Woodhead's swansong, a chance for the press to give the soon-to-be-departed chief inspector a

grilling before he strode off into the sunset.

But the ever-controversial chief inspector was on uncharacteristically quiet form at this, his last-ever press conference after six tempestuous years.

Arriving for OFSTED's launch of a report on the national literacy and numeracy strategies, Mr Woodhead handed the centre-stage to a previously obscure lieutenant. Keith Lloyd, head of OFSTED's primary division and a man not over-accustomed to the media searchlight, was given the task of speaking in detail on the report.

But it was before Woodhead, that the media assembled their microphones (was that 10 mikes to nil to the chief?).

The departing chief inspector ventured onto familiar, semi-

political territory only twie, the first to remind the world that the much-praised literacy

framework had been, in fact, a Conservative baby.

"When the Government came to power in 1997, it recognised that this Tory initiative was one that should be seized upon," he proclaimed.

Then, asked to say what part OFSTED had played in the subsequent English and maths improvements, he said: "The idea for the literacy and numeracy strategies came from OFSTED," although he would not want us to take it that he and his colleagues were attempting to claim "all the credit".

But the assembled reporters could not let him go without some brief comment on how it felt to be leaving them after all these years?

"I will miss you all. I have enjoyed our relationships," he said with a twinkle.

And with that he was off - into the loving embrace of the Daily Telegraph. From now on, things just won't seem the same.

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Diary, 15

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