It’s official: Amanda Spielman approved as Ofsted chief inspector

Amanda Spielman has been approved by the Privy Council as Ofsted’s next chief inspector, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Education told Schools Week this afternoon that the Council, which is made up of current and former ministers, party leaders and foreign dignitaries and advises the Queen, has signed off on Spielman’s appointment.

In a statement, new education secretary Justine Greening said she was confident Spielman was “the right person to lead Ofsted” and said she looked forward to working with her.

“Ofsted’s role is vital in challenging schools, childcare providers and social services to ensure every child reaches their full potential,” she added.

Spielman said she was “delighted” with the decision and said she had seen firsthand the “impact a great education can have” and wanted this “to be the norm for every child”.

The decision comes despite an attempt by a cross-party group of MPs to block her appointment. The education committee said Spielman “lacked passion” and did not have relevant experience in children’s services, sparking a war of words between its chair Neil Carmichael and former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

In his report Carmichael had said that although Ms Spielman had good experience of secondary schools, her understanding of other aspects such as early years, primary education, further education and children’s services, seemed lacking.

“Ms Spielman’s responses on child protection were particularly troubling and did not inspire confidence that she grasped the importance of Ofsted’s inspections in preventing children being held at risk through service failure,” he added.

But Morgan rejected the committee’s findings, accusing them of having “misunderstood the reality of the HMCI’s role”, especially in relation to their comments about child protection, and said she would proceed with the appointment.

Spielman, a former merchant banker and strategy consultant, is a former director of multi-academy trust Ark and the current chair of Ofqual.

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  1. Just a few days into the job and Greening is accusing the Education Select Committee, which has been around a little longer, of misunderstanding the role of Ofsted chief. Teachers now understand the role loud and clear – the role of Ofsted chief is to agree with and implement anything the SoS decides. So much for independence.

  2. And how much experience of primary and early years do we think SMW has pray tell? What we need is an HMCI who is careful about the evidence and doesn’t plaster the system with antediluvian ideas about hero-headship (a model, I might say, which is way too attractive to politicians who see themselves in the same mold). And on the subject of experience, the ESC has been around just under a year – so ‘little longer’ is precisely right