The Labour-supporting chair of Ofsted, Baroness Sally Morgan, is to be replaced as head of the organisation by education secretary Michael Gove.
The former advisor to Tony Blair – known to be a strong supporter of the coalition’s policies on free schools and academies – will not be given a second three-year term in the autumn.
The decision to replace Baroness Morgan (pictured), who was generally thought to have had government support until this morning’s revelation, comes amid reports of a rift between Mr Gove and Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Sir Michael told the media last weekend that he was “spitting blood” over criticism of his organisation from two right-wing think-tanks with links to Mr Gove, one of which had asked if Ofsted was “fit for purpose”.
In a statement issued overnight, the education secretary praised Ms Morgan’s contribution but confirmed she would not be given a second term.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning Baroness Morgan denied there had been a falling out. She told the programme that she had always had “good appraisals”.
She added that there was pressure from Downing Street to ensure that key positions at organisations such as Ofsted should be filled by Conservatives.
In a statement she said she was proud of her work at the schools watchdog. “I am proud of helping lead Ofsted through a period of reform that has strengthened our inspections.
“Our tougher regime is driving improvements with more good schools and colleges than ever before. There is also a renewed focus on raising expectations in all parts of the country and for all children, including the most disadvantaged.”