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Ofsted chief quits over Isle of Wight row

Chief resigns after island inbreeding insult

by Lamiat Sabin

THE chairman of school inspectors Ofsted has announced his resignation after calling the Isle of Wight a “ghetto” where there was “inbreeding.”

David Hoare told Education Secretary Justine Greening yesterday that he was resigning with immediate effect.

The former City banker and academy school trustee said it was “a great privilege” to chair the Ofsted board for the past two years.

He apologised for his comments three weeks ago after they were caught on tape at a teaching conference.

He is reported to have said: “Most people go sailing there for two weeks a year.

“There’s a sailing club that is one of the best in the world, where there’s champagne.

“But just within inches, there are people who live in a ghetto … They think of it as holidayland. But it is shocking.

“It’s a ghetto, there has been inbreeding.”

He claimed that his intention was to “highlight concern” over “unacceptably poor performance of schools on the Isle of Wight over many years and how this is damaging prospects of young people.”

Mr Hoare called Isle of Wight council leader Jonathan Bacon to apologise for his comments.

But National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney argued that his bizarre outburst was an indication that Ofsted is “losing credibility” and needs replacing with a new model.

Mr Courtney also highlighted that the inspectorate is a “major cause of excessive and debilitating workloads for teachers” and is one of the main causes of teachers leaving the profession in droves.

He said: “Schools and teachers in areas facing challenges need constructive support and fair evaluation, not denigration.

“It’s all too easy to throw insults around rather than exploring realistic answers.

“Yet we have developed a culture among politicians and chief inspectors which assumes that ranking schools and geographical areas, using demeaning labels and instilling fear and anger among professionals is somehow productive.

“This is a moment to stop and reject such an approach.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner also criticised Mr Hoare’s comments, saying that they were “shockingly offensive” and “demonised the entire population of the Isle of Wight.”

Ofsted announced that senior non-executive board member James Kempton would take on the role of interim chairman.

lamiatsabin@peoples-press.com

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