Your Views: Inspectors bring misery, not support

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The Independent Online
CHRIS WOODHEAD, the chief inspector of schools and the head of Ofsted, tells us that four of five primary schools were happy with their inspections (EDUCATION, 6 January).

Some 252 out of the 1,260 schools he mentions were therefore not happy. Of the teachers I know all bar one speak of their inspections leading to anger, the loss of good teachers, nervous breakdowns, severe loss of morale and the depression of pupils/ students.

Schools should indeed be accountable - but to a "demonised" Ofsted? Has it never occurred to Woodhead why Ofsted has gained such a bad reputation? And just how accountable is Ofsted itself, headed by somebody who said recently that a parent could learn all that was needed about a school in an hour's visit?

An inspection should be a constructive, supportive advisory service from a well qualified, well informed and respected inspectorate. If it is not, it fails. Inspectors should be well chosen, knowledgeable and sensitive to local environmental factors as well as professionally efficient. The confrontational and clearly destructive style of Woodhead himself has been too often reflected in his inspectors, for whom there seems to be very little respect from either staff or children.

MRS B KILBY

Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire

Things are getting better

I WAS amazed that in the otherwise excellent article, "Labour's end of term report" (EDUCATION, 31 December), in which experts commented on the state of education, you included the opinions of only one person actually teaching, and he taught in a grammar school. Although I agreed with most of the comments made, surely the real experts are the people who actually teach the vast majority of children - ie those in non-selective schools.

As a teacher of seven-year-olds, I have been excited by the Government's obvious commitment to education. My own class had been reduced from 36 to 28, a vast improvement in the quality of education that I am able to deliver. We have also had three of our 12 rotten windows replaced and new drains. Unfortunately the roof is still held up with pit props and some of our junior classes are still over 36. But I feel optimistic about the way education is going (I would feel more enthusiastic if Chris Woodhead was sacked). There is room for improvement, but we are moving in the right direction.

S ROWTHORE

Dronfield, Sheffield

Send letters to Wendy Berliner, Editor, EDUCATION, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DL. Include a daytime telephone number (fax: 0171-293 2451; e-mail: educ@independent.co.uk)

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