Ofsted recruits 30 inspectors to ramp up outstanding school visits

Ofsted has launched a £2 million pound recruitment push ahead of the expected lifting of the exemption for “outstanding” schools.

The watchdog is looking to take on another 30 inspectors (HMI) on starting salaries of £72,665 once they have passed probation, according to its advert. If all 30 roles are filled, the salaries would total £2,179,950.

An Ofsted spokesperson told Schools Week that HMI roles were recruited “well in advance to take account of regular turnover and potential changes in the demand for inspection.

“We also take into account lengthy notice periods and the time it takes to train inspectors.”

The government confirmed earlier this month that it will scrap the exemption for “outstanding” schools, following criticism that some have not been inspected for a decade.

Following the publication of a consultation, and subject to parliamentary approval, the exemption will be lifted by September next year.

Ofsted has been in favour of inspecting “outstanding” schools, which were let off inspection during Michael Gove’s tenure in 2011.

However, it is not yet clear if Ofsted will get extra cash to carry out more inspections.

The watchdog accepted earlier this year that staff shortages had reduced the number of inspections. There are 157 HMIs, 18 fewer than last September.

Stephen Rollett, the curriculum and inspection specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said recruiting more HMIs was “prudent and sensible” to “ensure the inspectorate has sufficient capacity to inspect outstanding schools and sufficient time in which to train them before the exemption is lifted.

“We do not have any information about how this is being financed, but we would imagine it is being managed within the existing budget ahead of any decision by the government on the allocation to the inspectorate in the future.”

He said any decision on future funding would need to “balance the cost of inspections with the need to be careful about how much money is spent on inspection. However, it is in the interests of everybody to ensure that inspections are of the highest quality.”

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, has previously said Ofsted’s resources might become “stretched” as it might not have the “capacity and capability to deliver the new expectations being placed on it”.