Sir Martyn Oliver’s appointment as the next chief inspector of Ofsted has been approved by the Privy Council.
The chief executive of the Outwood Grange Academies Trust said he would be “empathetic, compassionate and understanding of the challenges that those of us working in education”.
Oliver was announced earlier this year as the government’s preferred candidate, and endorsed by the education committee last month. Approval by the Privy Council – which advises the King – means he will take over from Amanda Spielman in January.
Spielman will step down in December following seven years in the job. The normal tenure is five years, but her term was extended because of the Covid pandemic.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan said Oliver was an “accomplished school and trust leader with a tremendous record of driving up standards and I’m delighted to announce that he has been confirmed as Ofsted’s next chief inspector”.
“I want to thank Amanda Spielman for her work over the past seven years. She successfully led Ofsted through a series of significant reforms in education and children’s services, alongside championing a broad and balanced curriculum.”
Oliver said he was “deeply honoured and hugely privileged” to take on the role, and said he was “looking forward to engaging with all parts of the sector that Ofsted regulates and inspects through a big listen”.
“I promise to be empathetic, compassionate and understanding of the challenges that those of us working in education, children’s services and skills face, especially in terms of the recovery post-covid, and will ensure that we always take a holistic view for the good of all children, especially the most vulnerable and those who are disadvantaged.”
During his committee hearing, Oliver said he wanted more serving leaders conducting Ofsted inspections, and for in-house inspectors to be able to serve part-time in other organisations.
But he was also accused of misleading MPs over claims exclusion rates in his turnaround trust’s schools were “lower than most” in the areas they work.
Analysis by Schools Week found Outwood Grange Academies Trust’s secondaries excluded twice as many pupils as other schools in some of their regions. Oliver later “clarified” his comments.