Education Committee Verdict: Incoming Ofsted Chief Inspector

The Education Committee published its report today on the appointment of Sir Martyn Oliver’s candidacy for the role of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) at Ofsted.

A pre-appointment hearing with Sir Martyn, the Government’s preferred candidate to become the next HMCI, was held on 5 September and following the hearing, the Committee decided it was satisfied that Sir Martyn, currently the Chief Executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), has the appropriate professional competence and personal independence for the role. The cross-party Committee reached its decision after a majority vote in favour of the Government awarding the post to Sir Martyn.

Sir Martyn is due to take over from the current HCMI,  Amanda Spielman, from 1st January 2024. The appointment is a 5 year term of office. 

 

In July, education secretary Gillian Keegan recommended Martyn for the role because she said he is ‘an accomplished school and trust leader with a track record of driving up standards in areas with high levels of disadvantage’.

Recruitment documents published by the committee show Oliver – one of the country’s leading trust bosses – described the inspectorate as going from being “seen as combative … to cold”. According to the Committee’s report, it questioned Sir Martyn about his ‘personal assessment of the adequacy of the one-word judgement system. He said he has views on the system but wanted to talk to “the experts who are delivering on the ground” and parents before reaching any conclusions.’

Four candidates were invited to interview after 29 applications for the role. Only two candidates were found to be appointable, the other believed to be Sir Ian Bauckham.


Paul Whiteman, general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said
“NAHT congratulates Sir Martyn Oliver following the endorsement of his appointment. “This is a crucial juncture for Ofsted, with there being growing consensus that major reform of school inspection is urgently needed to help ensure all schools are fairly held to account while fixing the unsustainable toll the current system places upon staff wellbeing. We look forward to working closely with Sir Martyn and discussing how a reformed inspectorate could work for the benefit of pupils, families and schools in future.”

 

 

Daniel Kebede, general Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said
“As Martyn Oliver takes up the post of the new Chief Inspector of Ofsted, he will know that he is taking over an organisation in which the profession has lost trust. The human cost of inspection has rightly been under the spotlight this year. The current inspection system is not reliable or fair and does not take into account the many factors which affect schools. It is time for a real engagement with the chorus of voices calling for a much better system of inspection; one that is supportive, effective and fair.”


Read the full report. The Committee’s detailed conclusion and comments following the hearing can be found from page 15 of the report.

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