In the Greek myth, the renowned hunter, Actaeon comes across, allegedly by mistake, Artemis bathing in a pool, naked – or, if you work in a school, without her hunting tunic on. In a moment of fury, she curses him, leaving him without the power of speech and more unluckily for him, turning him into a stag. His own hounds set upon him and tear him apart until there is nothing left of him, apart from his own hunting tunic, laying mournfully on the ground, dripping in blood, wondering where its once proud wearer had got to.
Actaeon is the mythic story of hunter turned hunted, of poacher turned gamekeeper, of your metamorphosis into something you once sought to control and even destroy. In schools these days, it is the story of dread of every inspector – turning into an inspectee, or even worse, a teacher.
The school inspector will be pleased that they are unlikely to find themselves in similar circumstances. In just doing their job, and by just dropping into a schools for a friendly bit of school improvement, they will be relieved that one day they will not find themselves at the end of a vicious cursing onslaught from a head teacher, not turned into a teacher and not then face the demanding ears eyes and mouths of the children who will torment them to an early ignominious messy ending.
The school inspector will be relieved that in the absence of any Greek mythic influences in schools – or Ted Hughes at the very least – they are unlikely to be turned from inspector to inspectee next to the school’s water cooler.
That will be good news for school inspectors, but perhaps disappointing news for those schools who will be facing their next inspection in the coming weeks. They would do well to swot up on their Ted Hughes as well as their School Improvement Plan.
Failing that, they could always take a leaf out of the Jim Carrey film, The Truman Show, which would help them immensely to make the inspector feel at home: