Choice of next Ofsted chief slammed due to no teaching track record

13 Jun 16

The government’s nomination of Amanda Spielman to serve as the next chief inspector of schools has incurred the wrath of teaching unions due to her lack of teaching experience.

The government’s nomination of Amanda Spielman to serve as the next chief inspector of schools has incurred the wrath of teaching unions due to her lack of teaching experience.

Photo: DfE

Education secretary Nicky Morgan announced on Friday that she was recommending Spielman to replace Sir Michael Wilshaw.

Spielman, a chartered accountant, has been chair of Ofqual since 2011. She is also currently an adviser to ARK academy chain of schools, which she cofounded. She held various roles in investment strategy and finance at Kleinwort Benson and elsewhere from 1997 to 2001 and holds an MA in comparative education from the Institute of Education, but she has no teaching experience

Morgan said Spielman has been chosen as the preferred candidate because of her impressive breadth of experience across the education sector and her proven commitment to raising standards for children and young people.

“From helping to set up one of the country’s top academy chains, to acting as a council member for the Institute of Education, to overseeing our ambitious qualification reform programme, Amanda has extensive experience at the frontline of the education system, making her uniquely qualified to take up this important role,” she added.

“I know that she is the right person to deliver the education white paper’s commitment to continue to improve the quality and consistency of Ofsted’s inspections, ensuring that it plays a central role in realising our vision of educational excellence everywhere.”

The appointment will now be scrutinised by the education select committee, who will meet Spielman and make recommendations to Morgan, which must be considered before the appointment is confirmed.
However, the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said that having an Ofsted chief who had never been a teacher and is heavily involved in the academy programme led to questions on both suitability and impartiality for the job

Acting general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “It is a sad indictment of this government’s attitude to education that they place such little value on the experience of teachers and head teachers, that they would not consider such a background necessary for the chief inspector’s role.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers added that, as chair of Ofqual, Spielman had presided over qualification chaos in secondary schools.

“Nicky Morgan will doubtlessly be relieved to have a less “troublesome” chief inspector than Sir Michael Wilshaw, who, although he got many things wrong, was unafraid to challenge the government’s policy when he thought it was wrong,” she said.

“Whereas Amanda Spielman’s record is of agreeing with and implementing the government’s policy, and we expect Nicky Morgan wants more of the same.”

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