Liverpool

Headteacher wins £10,000 prize for Osted inspection play

Colin Dowland Image copyright Liverpool Hope University
Image caption Colin Dowland wrote a comedy about a headteacher found drunk on Ofsted inspection day

A primary school headteacher has won a £10,000 playwriting prize for his comedy about a disastrous Ofsted inspection.

Headless, by Colin Dowland, won the 2019 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

The headteacher in the play is found drunk and unconscious and locked in a toilet on the day inspectors visit.

Mr Dowland said his job was perfect inspiration because "in school something ridiculous happens every day".

'Most terrifying'

Headless, which includes compromising revelations of a dominatrix, an illicit affair and a wayward gap student, will now be considered for production by Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre.

The competition is run by the theatre and Liverpool Hope University.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Headless could be performed at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre.

Mr Dowland, a headteacher at Woodbridge Primary School in North London, said: "When you write on a page you think it's funny yourself but you're never sure if anyone else will think it's funny.

"So I'm delighted the judges thought it was and picked it as the winner. Every day is funny when you work in a primary school."

He said Osted inspections were "the most terrifying [days] of a school's life" so it made for "great source material".

The judging panel included author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, actor Les Dennis and playwright John Godber OBE.

Famous Liverpool playwrights Alan Bleasdale and Jimmy McGovern also began their careers as teachers.

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