Ofsted refuses to say what officials did to earn five-figure bonuses

Inspectorate has given well-paid officials collectively up to £185,000 in bonuses over the past two financial years

Ofsted bonuses spark online debate

Ofsted has refused to say exactly what senior bosses have done to earn bonuses totalling up to £75,000 in the past financial year.

Figures show that the cash-strapped inspectorate paid five-figure bonuses to three of its top officials in 2017-18.

In 2017-18, bonuses totalling up to £75,000 were paid to senior management and £110,000 was paid out the year before that.

The latest figures, which also include a breakdown of Ofsted’s top earners, have sparked a debate on social media, with many teachers asking what these bonuses are for.

In 2017-18, there were eight top Ofsted officials who earned up to £140,000 or more.

The figures show that Ofsted’s chief operating officer, Matthew Coffey, was paid a bonus of between £15,000 and £20,000 on top of a salary of between £140,000 and £145,000.

Ofsted’s national director of education, Sean Harford, was also paid a bonus of between £15,000 and £20,000 on top of a salary of between £135,000 and £140,000.

The payments come at a time when Ofsted is seeing its budget squeezed.

'Why aren't teachers getting bonuses?'

By 2019-20, Ofsted will have seen its funding cut by 38 per cent compared with the £200 million funding it received in 2010-11.

An Ofsted spokesperson said that to achieve a bonus an individual “must meet their financial objectives, and will have consistently exceeded expectations throughout the year in terms of delivery of projects and leadership and management.”  

However, the inspectorate said it would be inappropriate to share the personal data for each of the individuals who received a bonus.

Posting on Twitter, teacher Tom Rogers said: “I think there are two issues for me here; 1. The questionable impact of the organisation itself (I think salary should equal impact) and 2. The bonus payments on offer seem very high – I’d like to know what these bonuses are calculated on - why aren’t teachers getting bonuses?”

Ofsted’s director of corporate strategy, Luke Tryl, responded to the post, saying: “If you have a problem with public sector workers receiving bonuses, take it up with Cabinet Office, who set the policy for the civil service."

Some people responded saying that they did not have any problem with the figures Ofsted was paying.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: “Policy on senior civil service (SCS) bonuses is set by Cabinet Office. SCS pay arrangements apply across all government departments.

"Eligibility for bonus payments is based on individual performance and contribution, measured against specific objectives.

“Each of our senior civil servants has individual agreed performance contracts, setting out their contribution to our strategy and delivery of business plans. This is personal data that is not appropriate to share.

"But to achieve a bonus for the year’s performance an individual must meet their financial objectives, and will have consistently exceeded expectations throughout the year in terms of delivery of projects and leadership and management.”  

The tables, in Ofsted’s annual report and accounts, also provided a breakdown of salaries and show 13 senior bosses earn more than £100,000.

Ofsted’s highest earner is the chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, whose salary is between £180,000 and £185,000.  Ofsted said her “renumeration arraangements” do not include eligibility for a performance-related bonus.

In 2016-17, her predecessor, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who retired in December 2016, was given a bonus of between £15,000 and £20,000.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes