Does it matter that the new Ofsted Chief has never taught?

Does the Ofsted chief inspector lose credibility if they have never been a teacher? 292 words

Amanda Speilman was announced as the next Ofsted chief this week. She has never taught.  Is this a problem?

To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the outgoing chief inspector, had extensive experience as a teacher and head teacher  (40 + and 20+ respectively) but he wasn’t exactly the teachers’ champion.

Teachers tend to think about how Ofsted impacts schools but sometimes we forget that Ofsted is responsible for much more than that. Ofsted, or the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills to give it’s full name, has a larger inspection remit than schools:

  • Early years
  • Children’s social care services
  • Schools
  • Childcare, adoption and fostering agencies and initial teacher training

Why should schools take precedence?

Do we complain if a Chief inspector has

  • Never run an early years setting?
  • Never been a social worker?

The Ofsted page on gov.uk states that

“We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial.”

Can a head of Ofsted ever be entirely impartial and independent?  It could be argued that their ability to remain in the role and get things done smoothly relies on their relationship with the Education Secretary of the time. That helps if they share a common ideology. Even if impartiality in post is achieved, I feel it would be naive to pretend that initial appointments aren’t made through a political lens.

Amanda Spielman had an early career in accountancy and corporate finance but she  later became one of the early team at Ark, cited as one of the most successful multi-academy trust of its type in England. She may not have taught but she has been extensively involved in education for many years so let’s wait and see.

 

 

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