Chief Inspector of Schools recalls 'tantrum' over spilt paint during school nursery visit

Sir Michael Wilshaw was responding to a question that emerged at the launch of Ofsted's annual report on early years in education

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The Independent Online

There is fierce debate over the finding that disadvantaged two-year-olds are missing out on free nursery places.

The fact was revealed in Ofsted's annual report on early years in education and led to the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, calling for more effort to be put into ensuring disadvantaged families took up their entitlement.

However, one question that emerged from the early-years audience at the launch of the report was whether school nurseries were equipped to deal with two-year-olds – who might be more prone to temper tantrums than their older siblings.

"Ah," said Sir Michael – recalling a visit he had made to a school which was accepting two-year-olds into its nursery. "The only tantrum was a possible tantrum on my behalf when paint was spilt."

The legacy of Michael Gove's exam reforms becomes more evident by the day. His insistence on abandoning coursework and moving towards a reliance on the end-of-course exam has created a massive need for more teachers to volunteer as markers to cope with the extra paper work. The crunch will come next year when the reforms really bed in.

It never rains but it pours, though, and the exam board is striving to cope with another difficulty. Apparently, a move towards online marking left the OCR without half the markers it previously had recruited to mark the Classical Civilisation exam papers.

It seems that the idea of new technology is a bit too scary for those markers whose interests are rooted in the past.

PS: The Board was secretly thanking its lucky stars that Andy Murray lost his semi-final at Wimbledon against Roger Federer. Past experience showed that the number of exam scripts returned marked fell whenever the Scot was involved in a final.