Ofsted

Academy body role on Ofsted recruitment panel criticised

Confederation of School Trusts head will advise on the appointment of the next chief inspector

Confederation of School Trusts head will advise on the appointment of the next chief inspector

20 Mar 2023, 5:00

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Ofsted

A former Ofsted director has criticised the involvement of an academy trust trade body in the recruitment of the watchdog’s next chief inspector.

An advisory panel to shift applications, run interviews and recommend a shortlist to the education secretary includes Leora Cruddas, the chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST).

The confederation represents 64 per cent of the academy sector in England.

But Luke Tryl, who ran corporate strategy at Ofsted, said a “big part” of the job was “being able to stand firm, particularly when the big trusts, which have a lot of political influence and a lot of influence over the sector, are pushing back on things”.

“We wouldn’t let the water company trade body sit on Ofwat interviews and afraid this leaves me feeling uncomfortable,” he tweeted this week.

An advertisement for the chief inspector job states that candidates must have “significant experience” at a senior level in schools or trusts.

Sir David Carter, the former national schools commissioner, said having someone on the panel who “understands the sector, working with others to advise, is not unhelpful”.

“I would much rather we get people…who are able to assess the merits of the school leadership experience that is relevant to such a crucial role.”

The panel also includes Dr Jo Saxton, Ofqual’s chief regulator, Dame Christine Ryan, Ofsted’s chair, and a senior Department for Education official.

The CST declined to comment.

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One comment

  1. Peter Read

    Dr Jo Saxton is of course the previous highly controversial CEO of Turner Schools in Folkestone whose lead school, Folkestone Academy had possibly the highest-ever number of fixed-term exclusions in one year under her leadership, at 1211. This was despite her support for the claim that ‘behaviours that lead to exclusions happen when students perceive there to be no limits and no expectations and no rules’. Just one example of a disastrous track record in Trust performance, protected by her establishment background which means she is surely even more unsuitable to be assisting in the appointment of the next Ofsted chief inspector