Businessman David Hoare, chairman of the Teenage Cancer Trust and a trustee of the biggest academy chain in the country, has been appointed the new chair of Ofsted.
Mr Hoare, who will replace Baroness Sally Morgan at the helm of the inspectorate in September, was appointed as a trustee of the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) earlier this year “as part of an effort to improve standards in their schools”, according to the Department for Education.
The chain had been banned from expansion following concerns about standards of education in its schools. After carrying out several inspections at AET schools in recent weeks, Ofsted had been due to publish a letter to the chain about its performance earlier this week.
A spokesman for the watchdog said the letter was not now expected to the released this week, but insisted this was not connected to Mr Hoare’s appointment.
TES understands that AET has submitted its response to the draft version of Ofsted’s letter, and that the final version has not yet been signed off.
The DfE has confirmed that Mr Hoare is stepping down from his role at AET following his appointment at Ofsted.
Mr Hoare has more than 30 years of experience in business and has worked as chairman or chief executive for a number of large companies, including the DX group, Virgin Express and V Ships. Prior to this, he spent 10 years at management consulting firm Bain and Company, helping international businesses improve their strategic and financial positions.
He has been chairman of the Teenage Cancer Trust for the last four years, and has also served as an academies ambassador for the DfE.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said she was “delighted” with Mr Hoare’s appointment. “He is a proven business leader who has the expertise in leadership and governance crucial to helping Ofsted through a significant period of change and reform,” she said.
“He is also passionate about education and his work with academies across the country shows he shares my commitment to ever higher standards in our schools, for all children but particularly the most disadvantaged. I am confident that his strong track record in business and the passion he demonstrated throughout the interview process will be of huge benefit to Ofsted. He and Sir Michael Wilshaw will make a superb team.”
Mr Hoare said he was looking forward to “working closely” with Sir Michael “to raise quality in children’s services and standards in our schools and colleges – especially for disadvantaged pupils”.
“Ofsted has a key role helping to improve the leadership of our schools and the performance of our pupils. I look forward to being part of the team,” he added.
NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said the appointment of a figure closely aligned with the academies movement was “further evidence of the government's politicisation of school inspection”.
“This could further widen the credibility gap between Ofsted and schools, and the new chair will need to demonstrate his competence to chair the school inspectorate in an impartial manner with regard to all academy and community schools,” he added. “Academy status is no panacea. It is essential that Ofsted distances itself from the pressure to force schools to become academies against their will.”
Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT, said: "[Mr Hoare] has a large task ahead of him: to help the inspectorate rebuild damaged relationships with the profession and government and to determine a new role for Ofsted in a changing education system. A politically neutral figure is essential for this task, and Mr Hoare has reassuring credentials in this regard. We will be able to offer a long list of suggestions to help him get started.”
In February it emerged that former education secretary Michael Gove would not be renewing the contract of Baroness Morgan, a figure with strong links to the Labour party. In response, she launched an outspoken assault on the government’s reform agenda, and the perceived hostility towards Ofsted emanating from the Department for Education. In what was perceived as an attack on Mr Gove, she claimed that it was “not wise to blast away at one’s enemies if you routinely wound your friends”.
Ofsted’s Sally Morgan launches attack on Gove and his advisers – February 2014
Ofsted chair Sally Morgan to be replaced by Michael Gove – February 2014