Applications open for new Ofsted chief inspector

Ministers advertise for the new chief inspector of schools, while Sir Michael Wilshaw rubbishes talk of recruiting his successor from abroad.

Adi Bloom

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Polish off your CVs: applications are now open for the next boss of Ofsted.

Anyone with an eye on becoming Her Majesty's chief inspector of education, children's services and skills has just under a month in which to compile and submit an application. The five-year post, beginning in January next year when incumbent Sir Michael Wilshaw steps down, will command a salary of between £170,000 and £180,000.

Those whose names have so far been linked with the job include Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris chain of academies; Tim Coulson, currently regional schools commissioner for the East of England and North-East London; and former superhead and adviser to the government Dame Sally Coates.

Two potential candidates are regular TES contribitors: National Association of Headteachers general secretary Russell Hobby, and Dame Alison Peacock, superhead and co-author of Creating Learning Without Limits.

In a letter launching the application process, education secretary Nicky Morgan said that the successful candidate would ensure that Ofsted continues to raise standards in education.

'Challenges' must be faced

She wrote: “We want to appoint someone who will make sure that Ofsted can respond to changes and opportunities – like a more autonomous school system, or innovations in business models – as well as to challenges like radicalisation and extremism.”

The application pack specifies that applicants should have “experience at the highest level in education or children’s services”, including practice leading in a complex environment. They should also have “strong communication skills, excellent judgment under pressure and a high degree of personal integrity”.

Earlier this month, the Sunday Times suggested that the Department for Education was keen for the next chief inspector to come from outside the UK. But further investigation by TES has revealed that three of the US educators whose names had been mentioned in connection with the post have already ruled themselves out of the running.  

'Little to learn' from US

Speaking earlier today, Sir Michael said that English schools had "very little to learn" from the US, which trails behind the UK in international education rankings like the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

Asked whether he thought Ms Morgan should choose a "home-grown" chief inspector, Sir Michael said: "I would but then that's not up to me."

The Ofsted boss told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "At the end of the day this is up to the secretary of state and the Department for Education.

"All I can say is we have very little to learn from America. They don't do as well as we do in the Pisa tables, the OECD tables.

"We've got a lot of talent in this country that I'm sure could do a good job as Ofsted's chief inspector."

The closing time for applications is 9am on Friday 18 March. Longlisted candidates will be notified on 31 March, and the shortlist will be announced on 11 April.

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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