Chris Russell to replace Sean Harford as Ofsted’s national education director

Fears about the safeguarding judgment in Ofsted inspections are 'out of proportion' to the number of schools with ineffective grades, Chris Russell has said

Ofsted is to name Chris Russell as its new national director of education, replacing Sean Harford, Schools Week has learned.

The watchdog revealed last month that Harford will leave at the end of August this year after deciding to take early retirement.

Russell is currently Ofsted’s regional director for the south east, having previously held the same role in the north west and East Midlands.

Chris Russell Sean Harford Ofsted
Standing down Sean Harford

He also stepped up temporarily into the national director role when Harford was seconded to the Cabinet Office last year to help with the Covid-19 response.

A former headteacher at the Grange School in Christchurch, Russell was appointed as a Her Majesty’s Inspector in 2006. He has been a regional director since 2014.

Like Harford, he is a former science teacher.

According to Ofsted’s website, the national director of education “leads the development of policy and of guidance for inspections in early years, schools, further education and skills”.

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  1. Anyone prepared to predict a change in: policy, direction, tone, vision? More or the same I predict: much has improved much remains to be done. HMCI report same every year. Money for old rope. Another grey suit on he gravy train. Good for him.

  2. Vuli Sibanda

    If an Ofsted inspector tells you something and you genuinely believe that that piece of information is new, then you know that you have been brain-dead for a long time.

  3. Mark Andrew

    The gravytrain just keeps rollin’ on. The real teachers are the only ones who know what’s happening. Remember, as you age, the system’s gonna getcha. It’s just the existing ecosystem of dog eat dog, propped up by a system that no one wants or has ever wanted.


    I am proud that a man with proven track record is appointed to such a post . Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the way we live and the way our children learn . I hope and pray Russell’s appointment will review our educational standard and give our children another healthy opportunity to recommence learning and skills acquisitions