Attack on Ofsted's 'climate of fear'
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Monday 07 May 2012
Headteachers have delivered a stinging personal attack on the new Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, accusing him of introducing a "climate of fear" in schools.
Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference in Harrogate declared they were "saddened" and "dismayed" by his use of "negative rhetoric" and bullying tactics to improve standards.
Since taking office, Sir Michael, the head of Ofsted and formerly a highly successful headteacher at Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, east London, has said he intends to ditch the term "satisfactory" to describe schools and replace it with "requires improvement". If a school fails to improve after three inspections, it will then be declared to be failing – with the likelihood that its headteacher will be sacked. Sir Michael has said one in four heads are not good enough.
Mike Curtis, head of Carterton Primary School in Oxfordshire, said: "Fear reigns and confidence wanes as Ofsted waves its stick. We must stand up to the bully-boy tactics of Michael Wilshaw. We deplore his negative rhetoric which is demoralising our members and creating a climate of fear in our schools." He added: "He suggests we should be 'lone heroes' who beat everyone in our school into submission. The suggestion that we get the best out of people by bullying them is outrageous. Michael Wilshaw argues for a model of school leadership where the headteacher is right and where other opinions are worthless."
Eugene Symonds, another headteacher from Oxfordshire, added: "I'm watching good people leaving this profession because of the way we have been treated."
Delegates overwhelmingly passed the motion critical of Sir Michael and called on the union's executive to start an e-petition to force a debate on the issue.
Earlier, heads were offered an olive branch by Education Secretary Michael Gove, who hinted that Ofsted would ditch its plans for "no notice" inspections after complaints from heads.
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
World news in pictures
Briton confesses to slitting his two children's throats in Lyon flat
- 1 British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 2 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 3 Sam Wallace: The second coming of Mourinho will be a reunion that can only end in tears
- 4 Civil partnerships amendment 'could wreck' gay marriage Bill, Government sources warn
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£23000 - £27000 per annum + Uncapped bonus + leading benefits: Randstad Educat...
£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Southampton: Randstad Education are loo...
£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Southampton: Randstad Education Southam...
£65 - £100 per annum: Randstad Education London: We are currently looking for ...