The move is significant, as Scottish authorities brace themselves for inspection under the Education Bill, and means a homecoming for Bill Clark who spent six years in the audit unit from 1989 after four years as headteacher of Galashiels Academy.
Mr Clark left for Australia in 1995 to join the New South Wales department of school education as director of quality assurance and educational audit. Returning to the UK two years ago, he went to work at the standards unit in the Department for Education and Employment, where he was responsible for following up reports on education authorities.
Aged 52, he has a history and modern studies background and was chosen from a short leet of four. He succeeds Frank Crawford who moves to head the inspectorate in the west of Scotland. John McDonald, the current Glasgow-based chief inspector, is retiring.