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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Chris Woodhead
Chris Woodhead

Chris Woodhead was the man that teachers loved to hate.

The Chief Inspector of Schools in England from1994 to 2000 was a controversial figure.

A former teacher himself, he was seen by many to be the right man for the job.

But his forthright opinions on all matters educational - including those considered by his critics to be well outside Ofsted's remit - won him many enemies.

The biggest row to erupt involving Mr Woodhead, 54, was undoubtedly the revelation that he had an affair with a former pupil in the 1970s.

Both denied the claims, saying their relationship had started six months after she had left the school, and when he was no longer teaching there.

Verbal assaults

But Mr Woodhead's ex-wife told a newspaper that the affair had begun while both Mr Woodhead and the student were still at the school.

She said she had decided to speak out after her ex-husband told students in January that relationships between teachers and their pupils could be "educative".

Mr Woodhead survived the uproar the revelation sparked, but blamed the unwanted attention it attracted for the break-up of his relationship with a primary school head teacher.

By then he was already a figure of hate for some for his assaults on poor teachers, badly-run schools and lacklustre council education departments.

He once famously called for school governing bodies across the land to sack 15,000 "incompetent" staff.

Raising standards

He also caused outrage by accusing universities of devaluing higher education by offering "vacuous" degrees - in subjects such as pig enterprise management and claiming a degree in media studies was a one-way ticket to the dole queue.

Mr Woodhead also called for A-levels to be made harder, attacking a system, he said, in which every year exam results were expected to rise and which could not accept failure.

After leaving his post in 2000, Mr Woodhead worked as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

Two years later, he was been given a research professor post at the UK's only private university, the University of Buckingham. A post he still holds.

Vice-chancellor of Buckingham, Terence Kealey, said Mr Woodhead was a "giant among educationalists". "He has done more to raise standards for all in Britain than any person in living memory."

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