US reformers ruled out of running to become next Ofsted chief

15th February 2016 at 18:30
doug lemov
The chances of an American becoming the next chief inspector of schools were dealt a significant blow today as two of the names mentioned were ruled out of the running

Reports emerged on Sunday that the Department for Education was looking to replace Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, with someone from the US with a track record of taking on teaching unions.

Those linked with the top job – which becomes available from December – included Dave Levin, co-founder of the Kipp charter school group, who was said to be favourite for the role.

Doug Lemov, writer and founder of New York charter group Uncommon Schools, was mentioned, as was Eva Muskowitz, chief executive of another New York charter chain, Success Academies.

Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York’s district schools system, who made his name taking on the unions in the city, was also on the list expected to be approached about the role.

But today, Ms Muskowitz ruled herself out, saying that she had too much still to do in her current role.

"As they say that no man is a prophet in his own land, it is awfully tempting to travel to another but alas my work here is far from done," Ms Muskowitz told TES. 

Similarly, Mr Lemov, who spent several months living in London in 2014, is understood to have quashed the idea that he has been approached for the Ofsted role or would want it.

According to the Sunday Times, both Number 10 and the Department for Education were keen for the next chief inspector to come from outside the UK.

There have been suggestions that the reports were “standard kite flying” by Downing Street in a bid to force the DfE to take the search for Sir Michael’s replacement more seriously.

But a source close to Nicky Morgan told TES that the education secretary was leading the move to widen the net in a search for the next head of Ofsted.

"We are looking at the US, Canada and Northern Europe - as well as the UK - for a replacement who will have as much clout as Sir Michael," they added.

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