Editor's note

The Department for Education insists that, contrary to Francis Beckett's article "The real Chris Woodhead scandal" (26 April), "a spokesman for [David] Blunkett" has never said that "the chief inspector's days could be numbered". The writer was referring to a quote in the Observer (which implied that Woodhead was in trouble) but its provenance is a matter of dispute between the department and the paper.

This article first appeared in the 03 May 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The NS Essay - This country is not so special