My apologies to those of delicate sensibilities who might take this amiss. It is, I accept, insensitive of me to do this to you at the beginning of an article. There is no choice, I am afraid – I must return to the Ofsted “stuck in the photocopier” story. Did you think I was referring to my apparently uncouth title? If you visit an Anglo-Saxon site you must expect some Anglo-Saxon language.
My heading made itself, anyway. Craig Ball is the well-known US e-discovery consultant and fearsome commentator, a Special Master and a Forensic Examiner. He and I are allies in the battle on both sides of the Atlantic to increase understanding of the rules, and of the technology available to aid compliance with the rules. Ed Balls is the egregious Children’s Minister whose intemperate dismissal of Sharon Shoesmith, Director of Children’s Services at Haringey Council, gave rise to the proceedings in which the “stuck in the photocopier” excuse was raised. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, a party (along with Haringey and Ed Balls) to Shoesmith’s application for judicial review of the decision to dismiss her, and the outfit whose capacious photocopier was the alleged hiding place for 2000 missing pages. Balls-up is a kind way of referring to the daily conduct of entities like Ofsted, as well as to the failure of the long-term mission implicit in its name – educational standards have plummeted in the last decade, and Ofsted’s spineless incompetence is partly to blame. Read the rest of this entry »