A RETIRING headmaster has described the body responsible for inspecting state schools in England as wielding “a very big sledgehammer to crack a small nut”.

Eddie East, headmaster at Sampford Arundel and Stawley Schools for 12 years, says the money spent on what he has dubbed a “huge and expensive inspection regime”

should be prioritised for children’s learning – more so now than ever at a time when Government resources are strapped.

Both schools were once again judged “good” by Ofsted inspectors after assessments carried out on July 1-2, with some aspects of their provision described as “outstanding”.

They share a governing body and executive head teacher under the Wellington Area Rural Federation.

Reflecting on the results, Mr East said the success of both schools was largely due to the skill and dedication of the staff and support of governors and parents.

“Everybody who is involved with the schools knows that they are good,”

he added.

“Obviously it is nice to get a positive endorsement from Ofsted but the money that goes into running the inspection system would do more for children’s education if it went directly to schools to be spent on teaching staff and materials.”

He continued: “The sense is in schools is that the Ofsted operation is a very big sledgehammer to crack a small nut.”

While not disputing the need for monitoring, Mr East said proportionality was needed, and that a slimmed-down Ofsted could still deliver the goods.

Responding to the criticisms, an Ofsted spokesperson said: “We want to ensure that schools are delivering the best possible education for children and young people.

“Ofsted proposes to change the way that we inspect good schools and will consult on this matter soon.

“However, our inspections will always be rigorous: that is what parents want and their children deserve.”