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2000: Schools watchdog Woodhead resigns
The controversial chief inspector of schools in England, Chris Woodhead, has resigned.

The Department for Education said Mr Woodhead was leaving Ofsted to become a newspaper leader writer with the Daily Telegraph.

A source said he had been discussing such a move for some weeks.

Mr Woodhead's three months' notice period would normally take him to the end of February but he will clear his desk on 30 November.

His deputy Mike Tomlinson will then take over until a new chief inspector is appointed.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, paid tribute to Mr Woodhead's role in raising standards in schools.

Teachers will breathe a sigh of relief
Nigel de Gruchy, teachers' union leader
But he added: "I think anyone who feels their role is better to be played writing for The Daily Telegraph or being a consultant to a PR company has obviously found a different niche in life."

Teachers' unions have greeted the news of his departure with delight.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Union of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, said it was long overdue.

"I think over the last few months he was on a suicide mission and teachers will breathe a sigh of relief," he said.

Chris Woodhead's resignation comes the day after he was involved in ill-tempered exchanges with MPs on the Commons education select committee.

During his appearance before the committee he rejected allegations that his style detracted from the good work of Ofsted.

Mr Woodhead is unembarrassed by the fuss his comments routinely cause, believing that he should speak bluntly on behalf of parents when he finds that things are not up to scratch.

He has also found his private life at the centre of controversy - in May 1999 it was revealed the former teacher had had an affair with an ex-pupil.

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Chris Woodhead
Teachers' unions have welcomed Mr Woodhead's departure


In Context
Chris Woodhead was originally appointed by the Conservative government in 1994 and was not expected to be kept on when Labour took power three years later.

He particularly angered teaching unions when he said there were "15,000 incompetent teachers".

In December 2000 Chris Woodhead named Chancellor Gordon Brown as the "villain of the year" in a poll voted on by listeners to BBC's Radio 4's Today programme.

However, he won the title himself - he also came second in the same programme's "hero of the year" awards.

In February 2002 Chris Woodhead became a professor at the University of Buckingham.

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