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Keegan: ‘I’d have punched Ofsted inspector’

The education secretary has said she would have “punched” disrespectful Ofsted inspectors that ran the rule over a school that she recently visited.

Gillian Keegan made the statement during a question-and-answer event at the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference this morning.

The senior Conservative recalled feeling “shocked” after hearing about the inspectors’ conduct as “you don’t expect somebody to come in and not be respectful”.

“I heard recently actually from a fantastic school I went into, [and] they told me how their Ofsted experience had gone,” she told the audience.

“I was shocked, I was actually shocked. I thought, ‘God, if I’d met these people, I’d have actually punched them.’ They were really rude.”

Keegan added that the “most important thing” in schools is “getting good people, retaining good people, continuing the professional development of good people, [and] listening and respecting to good people”.

Sir Martyn Oliver

“You expect people to be rude to you when you’re a politician,” she continued.

“But when you’re trying to run a school and change lives you don’t expect somebody to come in and not be respectful.”

Asked about Keegan’s comments, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver said he thought “people should act with professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect on both sides”.

“I think [Keegan’s comments are] referring to a previous period, I’m much more interested in a fresh start and calming down tensions. That’s in far better interests for the children and professionals in the country going forward.”

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