Who was Chris Woodhead?
For a long time, in the 1990s, Chris Woodhead was the dominant character in education. Boss of OFSTED, he was appointed by the Tories, but then retained when Labour came to power – the go-to guy you couldn’t be without.
He was famous for being famous – for speaking out, criticising teachers, acting tough when other people weren’t too sure what to say. He had been a trendy teacher, so he knew how it all went wrong.
We share similar ages and background, and I briefly knew him socially, before he soared up into the stratosphere. When I retired I had the leisure to investigate the scandal that nearly cost him his job.
To save himself from being sacked, Woodhead signed a false affidavit about his relationship with a student. The Blair government protected him, and managed to presevent the media from covering the story.
I’ve written the fullest published account of what happened – but it’s long and complicated. If you want the full story, click on Woodhead Affair.
Woodhead briefly surfaced again in April 2014, where he featured in the Radio 4 programme No Triumph No Tragedy. This focussed mainly on his current battle with Motor Neurone disease, but it also touched on his educational career – without at any point challenging his own account of that.