Chris Woodhead
Former chief schools inspector Chris Woodhead.Ian Waldie/Reuters

Sir Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools, has died aged 68.

He was head of the Ofsted education watchdog between 1994 and 2000, during which time he became a controversial figure due to his outspoken criticism of "incompetent teachers" and challenges against "mediocrity, failure and complacency."

After resigning in 2000 he became a professor of education at the University of Buckingham, and was awarded a knighthood in 2011.

Sir Chris, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2006, was a vocal advocate of the Assisted Dying Bill, which would make it legal for people to choose to end their lives.

On Tuesday (23 June), tributes came flooding in from the political and educational world for a man described as an "immense figure in the world of education."

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "Chris Woodhead started a crucial debate on school standards and reform. Meetings with him were never dull. My thoughts are with his family."

He was an "immense figure in the world of education," said Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. "His determination to ensure that every child had the best education possible raised aspirations and changed lives. He was someone unafraid to speak his mind or challenge established orthodoxies and our education system is the better for it."

Former education secretary David Blunkett, whose tenure overlapped with Sir Chris' last years at Ofsted, praised his "bravery."

"He wasn't just brave in these latter years with motor neurone disease which is a horrendous illness, but also he was brave in taking on vested interests," he said.