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Sir Chris Woodhead
Christopher Anthony Woodhead

(1946-10-20)20 October 1946
Cockfosters, London, England
Died 23 June 2015(2015-06-23) (aged 68)
Cockfosters, London, England
Cause of death Motor neurone disease
Nationality British
Known for Chief Inspector of Schools

Sir Christopher Anthony Woodhead (20 October 1946 – 23 June 2015) was a British educator. He was head of Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, from 1994 to 2000. Ofsted is a non-ministerial department of the UK government. The head of Ofsted is also Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England, which is a crown appointment.


Woodhead graduated in English at the University of Bristol, where he also took a PGCE. He obtained a Master of Arts in English from Keele University in 1974.

In 1976, he left teaching, allegedly as the result of an affair with a sixth-form pupil, something he always denied. Later, he moved into teacher education.

Woodhead was one of the most controversial figures in debates on the direction of English education policy. Woodhead advocated "traditional teaching methods". He took a scornful view of "progressive educational theories" introduced into English schools from the 1960s onwards.

He was Chairman of Cognita, a company dedicated to fostering private education, from 2004 to 2013.


Woodhead died after a nine-year battle with motor neurone disease, aged 68.


  • 1984. Nineteenth and twentieth century verse: an anthology of sixteen poets. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198312475
  • 2002. Class War: the state of British education. Little, Brown. ISBN: 9780316859974
  • 2009. A desolation of learning: is this the education our children deserve?. Harriman House. ISBN: 9780956257307
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