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Head teacher unmoved by `tosh' in critical report

Michael Round was not impressed by the Ofsted inspectors' finding of "cause for concern in some areas" at Haling Manor school, where he is headteacher.

He said that at the school in Croydon, south London, where 40 per cent of 11-year-old new arrivals had a reading age of nine or less and an equal number qualified for free school meals, it was not surprising achievements were below the norm, writes Lesley Gerard.

"We knew all that already," he said. "This tosh is published in the worst turgid language. It implies we are to blame - but how can the ability levels of our children be our fault? We have to work to educate the mix which we get.''

Nor was he impressed by the suggestion that the school should try to raise these levels of achievement: "What the devil do they think we are striving to do from dawn until dusk?''

Mr Round is chairman of the National Association of Head Teachers' working party on Ofsted. He believes the process costs more than £30,000 for an average secondary school when staff time is taken into account.

A few miles away at Downsview primary school in Upper Norwood, John Corder, the headteacher, worked on Christmas Day to prepare paperwork for inspectors who are due next week. This week he has not been home before 10pm.

His preparations have been hindered by Ofsted, he says. The first notice of the inspection came when three letters arrived on the same day; each said it would be in a different term.Then another letter said the inspection was off. Four days later anothersaid there had been a mistake and it was on again.

"I am concerned that we are being judged on our efficiency, but Ofsted itself in my school's experience is an extremely inefficient body," he said.