The chairman of Ofsted has apologised after he called the Isle of Wight a “ghetto” where “there has been inbreeding”.
David Hoare said he had been trying to highlight the unacceptably poor performance of schools on the island over many years.
His comments, made at a recent teaching conference, prompted a call for him to resign.
Mr Hoare apologised for any upset or offence he may have caused.
Green Party education spokeswoman Vix Lowthion said Mr Hoare’s comments made him “unfit” for his post and called on him to step down.
Isle of Wight council leader Jonathan Bacon said he would contact Education Secretary Justine Greening to seek an explanation from Mr Hoare for his comments.
He said: “David Hoare’s comments about ‘inbreeding’ and ‘ghettos’ on the Isle of Wight are truly offensive to the people of the Isle of Wight and bear no relation to the facts.”
Ofsted said the chairman had been expressing his personal views and they did not reflect those of the inspectorate or its chief inspector.
The controversial comments, made at a teaching conference last week, were highlighted in the Times Educational Supplement.
Mr Hoare, who has a home on the mainland near the island, said education on the Isle of Wight was often a topic of conversation with his dinner party guests.
“They think of it as holiday land. But it is shocking,” he said.
“It’s a ghetto; there has been inbreeding.
“Seven state schools were all less than good. There is a mass of crime, drug problems, huge unemployment.”
But Ms Lowthion, who is a teacher on the island, said: “‘I am absolutely appalled that the chairman of Ofsted thinks it helpful, truthful or professional to describe our families and young people in that way.
“I think it reflects more on himself than it does on our hard-working teachers and schools.
“It is well-known that coastal towns need investment and support to improve education standards and participation.
“He has insulted residents of coastal towns across the country and should resign.”
Following the outcry, Mr Hoare said: “My intention was to highlight how concerned I am about the unacceptably poor performance of schools on the Isle of Wight over many years and how this is damaging the prospects of young people who live on the island.
“Those who know me will realise that I am passionate about improving outcomes for children from our most disadvantaged communities and my comments were made in this context.”