Head’s open letter to Ofsted chief inspector

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Thank you so much Sir Michael Wilshaw for letting me know that I am not in a stressful job and that I find any excuse to cover up issues.

It may be of interest to you to know that in 2000 the Health and Safety Executive for the UK completed some research on this.

It found that teaching was the most stressful profession in the UK, with 41.5 per cent of the profession reporting that they were highly stressed.

It gets better. In 2005 the Journal of Managerial Psychology found that only ambulance drivers experienced higher levels of stress than teachers.

Now, I have been a headteacher for more than 20 years, and so perhaps I am allowed to present an insider’s view.

But who is going to listen? Not the new chief inspector of Ofsted, yes you Sir Michael, who instead prefers to attract media coverage stating teaching is not stressful at all. You are quoted as saying ‘stress is what my father felt, who struggled to find a job in the 1950s and 1960s and who often had to work long hours in three different jobs and at weekends to support a growing family’.

I’m really sorry Sir Michael, but as an experienced headteacher I feel you are out of touch. Teaching disillusioned children, with too often a lack of appropriate resources can (believe it or not!) be stressful. And for a headteacher to be constantly told your school is not good enough equally so.

Every headteacher and teacher wants to do the very best for the children in their care. It is well recognised that society is changing and therefore we as a profession need to change to meet this challenge. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to embrace the profession and work with it than to constantly batter it?

As I approach the end of my career, I ask if perhaps we should all recognise that we are all aiming for the same thing.

And by that I mean to ensure our children are prepared to meet, and have, the necessary skills to take on, the challenges of adulthood in an ever-changing society.

To achieve this, why not celebrate the hard work that goes on in our schools rather than criticise? And perhaps Sir Michael, you will consider keeping the soundbites to yourself rather than insulting once more an already vulnerable and demoralised workforce.