Thought for the week

I recently was grilled by Ofsted. Luckily for me, governors only face a searching interview about the school and their role, but it is still stressful. The pressure on teachers and heads is worse, even when (as in all the inspections I have been through) the result has been positive.

I don’t dispute that all schools should be accountable – but making many teachers live in fear and then spend sleepless nights preparing for the inspection cannot be good. “No notice inspections” will mean teachers can’t spend days tidying up and getting ready, but will mean that many will be under constant low-level stress.

Luke’s Gospel (chapter 15) gives a gentler picture of judgement. Yes, God is our judge, but he is also like a father waiting anxiously for his lost son to return home.

When he finally sees his son in the distance, he runs out to meet him and welcomes him home with a party.

Yes, we do need to deal with poor performance by workers – but the big stick should only be a last resort. Jesus outlines a better way. He says he wants to relieve burdens, not increase them: “Come unto me, those who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

PETER GARLAND

Vicar of St John’s

Spalding with Deeping

St Nicholas and

chaplain to the Johnson

Hospital