A HEREFORDSHIRE head teacher has used his school's speech day to take a sideswipe at Government initiatives and red tape.

Andrew Evans, head of Ledbury's John Masefield High School, was commenting on an initiative in which he and senior staff observed every teacher in the school at work.

"It was a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable week and was an important reminder about how important it is not to be distracted by paperwork and Government initiatives from our core business of aiming to create excellent and enjoyable teaching for all members of our school and to enable each member of the school to achieve as well as he or she possibly can," he said.

Mr Evans said that the 1,000-pupil school had done well in a rigorous Ofsted inspection. During the process hundreds of children had been interviewed, 12 inspectors had visited the school and nearly 200 lessons watched.

He spoke of the school's international awareness and mentioned fund-raising by pupils following the Asian tsunami, interest in the Live 8 concerts and school visits overseas.

And he paid tribute to deputy head Ann Duff, who was moving to Bristol to take on a headship after six years in the job, and to retiring teachers Keith Nind and Geoff Douglas.