Ofsted wants experienced school leader to take over from Spielman

Job advert for the £165k role states it is an 'important time' to lead the watchdog and 'embed' the 'relatively new' inspection framework

Job advert for the £165k role states it is an 'important time' to lead the watchdog and 'embed' the 'relatively new' inspection framework

14 Mar 2023, 16:50

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Ofsted has published the job advert for the new HMCI, with Amanda Spielman leaving the post at the end of this year

Ofsted is looking for a leader with “significant experience” at a senior level in schools or trusts and a “high degree of personal integrity” to become its next chief inspector.

Amanda Spielman will leave the role at the end of this year after seven years in the hot seat.

A job advert to find her £165,000 successor is now live.

A foreword for the role written by education secretary Gillian Keegan states government wants a chief inspector “with significant experience in the school and trust sector, but who can command respect across all the sectors” within Ofsted’s remit.

Keegan said it was an “important time” to lead the watchdog, with hopefuls able to demonstrate the ability to “embed” and “take forward, build on and improve” the “relatively new” inspection framework.

They must do so while “maintaining and enhancing a strong organisational reputation for valid, reliable, objective and fair judgements”.

They must also be able to “adapt to the changing education” landscape with the “increasing importance” of academy trusts and social care reform marking a “considering period of organisational change” for the watchdog, Keegan added.

Candidates must also show “excellent judgement under pressure and a high degree of personal integrity, including experience of taking difficult, independent, calls in a senior position with high profile”.

Trust body boss on adviser panel

An advisory assessment panel will carry out interviews and recommend candidates to the education secretary, who makes the final decision.

The panel is made up of Ofsted chair Dame Christine Ryan, Ofqual chief regulator Dr Jo Saxton, a senior Department for Education official and Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the academy trust body CST.

Pay may be a stumbling block in attracting experienced trust leaders, however. Schools Week analysis found more than 80 academy trusts leaders earnt more than £165,000 last year.

Another issue could be a potential change of government should Labour win the next election, scheduled to take place by January 2025 at the latest.

Last week, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson set out the party’s intention to reform the watchdog.

Proposals include scrapping its current grading system and replacing it with a new “report card” for schools.

‘Respond proactively to policy direction’

The advert states the chief inspector will need to “respond proactively to the direction of government policy and strategy”.

Chief inspectors are appointed for a term of up to five years by the King.

Spielman was given a two-year extension due to Covid disrupting the roll-out of her inspection framework. It means she will be the longest-serving chief inspector.

The deadline for applications is April 6, with the successful candidate taking office on 1 January 2024.

Once the government has chosen its preferred candidate, they will appear before the education select committee who decide whether to back the decision.

However government can ignore this, as then education secretary Nicky Morgan did when appointing Spielman in 2016.

The committee was concerned Spielman, who had worked in the finance sector before holding a senior position at Ark Schools and later chairing Ofqual, had not been a teacher.

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  1. Patrick Obikwu

    Without extensive (10 or more years) teaching experience in a school, preferably an inner city secondary school, I doubt very much if she knew anything about effective lesson planning, engaging, teaching, motivating, managing, and successfully transforming lives of students on a daily basis. I also doubt she had the faintest idea what support staff, TAs, SEN etc do everyday to support students with learning difficulties to learn. It appears she lacked many competencies to be effective as head of Ofsted.