Why does Ofsted pay an overwhelmingly female group of inspectors less than their colleagues?

14th March 2018 at 14:01
early years, ofsted, inspections, sean harford, pay gap, gender, inequality, unison
The inspectorate says that its gender pay gap can be explained by the fact that early-years inspectors – who are predominantly female – are recruited from a low-paid sector

Ofsted has come under criticism for paying early years inspectors less than inspectors of schools and colleges.

In a tweet this morning, Sean Harford, the inspectorate’s national director for education, said that Ofsted's gender pay gap of 8 per cent was in part explained by the fact that 83 per cent of early years inspectors are female – and that early years inspectors are paid less than their school counterparts.

He added that early years regulatory inspectors are recruited from a lower-paid sector than those HMI responsible for grading schools and colleges.





In fact, not all schools inspectors are HMI. But all schools inspectors are higher paid than those inspectors responsible for the early years and social care sectors.

Ben Thomas – national officer in education and child services for the union Unison, which represents a number of early-years inspectors – said that Ofsted was perpetuating existing inequalities.

“The pool they’re recruiting school inspectors from is principally senior leaders and headteachers – and there are market rates they have to pay, in order to attract those people.

“Part of the problem is that the early years sector in itself is a low-paid sector, so there aren’t the same market issues. But that doesn’t mean Ofsted have to reflect that in their pay scales.”

And Mr Harford faced criticism from teachers and early years workers on Twitter who argued that early years inspectors’ pay should reflect the complexity and diversity of their job.





The details of this pay gap came to light following the publication of Ofsted's gender-pay figures. These figures also revealed that more men than women receive bonuses at Ofsted.

Mr Harford pointed out that the schools and early years inspectors’ roles had been independently evaluated – and the different pay grades upheld.

However, Mr Thomas added that an additional assessment of the roles will be undertaken this summer – and those early years inspectors who are successful will be moved higher up the pay scale from 2019.

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