Sir Michael Wilshaw is of course entitled to his own opinions.

But when called to give evidence to the education select committee, shouldn’t what he says be based on evidence?

His assertion that 16 to 19-year-olds should be taught in schools, not colleges, undermined so much good work being done in our sector.

And there has to be concern now over what impact his comments will have on future inspections.

Sir Michael, whose speech will be hotly anticipated by visitors to our AAC conference on March 17, could never be accused of towing the government line.

He has always steered clear of churning out bland civil service speak and we have been grateful at FE Week over the years for many bold statements that created winning headlines.

But the fact that both the Education Secretary and Ofsted distanced themselves from what he told the Education Select Committee speaks volumes.

And Sir Michael isn’t afraid to use evidence when he points out his inspectors find poor performance at many secondary schools.

So lets hope he takes up the challenge from the AoC to provide evidence to back up his recommendation that young people stay on in these same failing schools for another two years. Watch this space…


Nick Linford is editor of FE Week

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