Education & Family

Ofsted boss in Isle of Wight row quits

David Hoare Image copyright AET handout
Image caption David Hoare caused controversy with his comments about the Isle of Wight

The chairman of the Ofsted education watchdog David Hoare has announced his resignation.

Earlier this month, Mr Hoare apologised after calling the Isle of Wight a "ghetto" where there had been "inbreeding".

On Tuesday, Ofsted issued a statement saying he was resigning with immediate effect.

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner said Mr Hoare's comments had been "inaccurate, insulting and extremely unhelpful".

Mr Hoare said in his resignation statement: "It has been a great privilege to chair the Ofsted board for the past two years."

He had chaired the board of England's education watchdog - setting the strategic direction for the more high-profile role of chief inspector, currently held by Sir Michael Wilshaw.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Hoare said the holiday image of the Isle of Wight concealed many social problems

Mr Hoare's comments about the underachievement of poor white pupils on the Isle of Wight, made at a teaching conference, had prompted calls for his resignation.

"Most people go there for sailing for two weeks a year. There's a sailing club that is one of the best in the world, where there's champagne," he had said.

"But just within inches, there are people who live in a ghetto ... They think of it as holiday land. But it is shocking. It's a ghetto; there has been inbreeding."

Mr Hoare spoke of educational underachievement and social problems.

"Seven state schools were all less than good.

"There is a mass of crime, drug problems, huge unemployment."

Mr Hoare later said: "My intention was to highlight how concerned I am about the unacceptably poor performance of schools on the Isle of Wight over many years and how this is damaging the prospects of young people who live on the island.

"Those who know me will realise that I am passionate about improving outcomes for children from our most disadvantaged communities and my comments were made in this context."

Education Secretary Justine Greening, accepting his resignation, said: "I would like to thank David for his hard work in this role over the past two years."

Labour's shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said: "His position became increasingly untenable after he made those shockingly offensive comments. He demonised the entire population of the Isle of Wight."

James Kempton, a member of the Ofsted board, will take over as Ofsted chairman on an interim basis.

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner said: "The role of Ofsted is to help improve education, not demoralise teachers, insult parents and pupils and those involved in raising education standards.

"His resignation, albeit somewhat delayed was probably inevitable and clearly for the best.

"I said at the time that he would never have dared make such remarks about an area with a high ethnic population, and I stand by that view."

Jonathan Bacon, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said that standards were improving in the island's schools.

He invited Mr Hoare's successor to visit the Isle of Wight "in order to learn more about the challenges we face and ensure that Ofsted is playing the fullest possible part, working alongside the other agencies, to support the further improvement of educational outcomes".

Kevin Courtney, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said it was "correct" that Mr Hoare had resigned, saying that his comments had been "insulting and ill-judged".

"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."

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