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WOODHEAD ADMITS SOME HEADS MADE SCAPEGOATS

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The chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead, has admitted that some headteachers were being made scapegoats in t...
The chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead, has admitted that some headteachers were being made scapegoats in the wake of critical Ofsted reports.

The Journal reports that Mr Woodhead said, during a visit to Sunderland, that some headteachers had been victimised for their schools' failings.

Mr Woodhead said he knew of incidents where heads had been forced out following damning government inspections.

The National Association of Head Teachers has recently claimed that heads at schools singled out for criticism by Ofsted are under increasing pressure from governors and local education authorities to resign.

Mr Woodhead agreed, adding: 'I certainly know of cases where head teachers have been scapegoated and I don't automatically believe that it is the case with a failing school that it is necessarily a weakness with the head teacher.

'Any inspection report could theoretically be used for the wrong purposes. It is up to the local education authority to make sure developments of this kind don't happen.

'But my general belief from the evidence of schools that have got difficulties is that there are weaknesses in leadership. The buck does stop with the man or woman in charge and that is the same with Ofsted. When things go wrong in Ofsted I have to take responsibility. It is the same with head teachers.'

He said: 'When you have a really good report, the head teacher is usually praised to the skies. When we have problems at schools, I think it is right and proper that the local education authority and the governing body ask serious questions about whether these can be traced to weaknesses in the leadership.'

John Heslop, regional officer for the National Association of Head Teachers, said: 'Mr Woodhead's comments tally with what we have been saying. Judgement based on an Ofsted report is very subjective and to determine someone's career on this is very questionable indeed.'

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