Ronald Reagan had the gift of being able to say appalling things in such a pleasant, mellifluous way that people thought they agreed with him. Chris Woodhead was the opposite: the self-satisfied, contemptuous manner in which he was apt to speak about teachers made reasonable points seem inflammatory. But much of what he is now saying is fair, and it is good that he has realised that the national curriculum, potentially a useful servant, is a clumsy, incompetent master.
The unfortunate victim of a cruel illness, Professor Woodhead remains a bright, cultivated chap. But it was naive to suppose that conversion to his idiosyncratic educational agenda led New Labour to embrace Ofsted in 1997; its morphing into an agency of quasi-Stalinist control was predictable. Now he laments that teachers do not resist regimentation and ill-conceived initiatives because they lack the will and morale to do so. He really should not be surprised.
Andy Connell, Appleby, Cumbria.