'She did not convince us she had vision for Ofsted', says Education Select Committee chair on new chief

'She did not convince us she had vision for Ofsted', says chair of the Education Select Committee on new Ofsted chief

Chair of the Education Select Committee Neil Carmichael isn't sure about Amanda Spielman

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Amanda Spielman has been chosen to become the new chief inspector for Ofsted – but MPs are opposing the government’s choice, and the chair of the Education Select Committee believes the new head "needs to be a champion of school improvements".

Sir Michael Wilshaw will be stepping down at the end of this year, and the education secretary Nicky Morgan said Spielman was the "best person" for the job. As the new appointee has no teaching experience, the committee has spoken out about the choice.

Chair Neil Carmichael was not convinced by she would have the right vision for Ofsted.

"From the enquiry, she really did not convince us that either she had vision for Ofsted, or she understood the scale and complexity of the role of chief inspector because it also includes children’s services and child protection," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"One point we did make was it would be very helpful if she could make bridges with the teaching profession, and she didn't seem to have a plan to do that. But we have to remember the current inspector is imposed until the end of December."

The Conservative MP for Stroud explained qualities he believes the new leader should possess.

"From our perspective at least is the chief inspector needs to be a champion of school improvements, and he or she should have a vision for the future role of Ofsted, because Ofsted is not without its critics.

"Education is one of those areas where everybody knows something about it, everyone's been to school," he added. "It is natural that the big chiefs of education, Ofsted included are going to attract scrutiny.

"It is important that the chief inspector has the ability to test everybody including the Department [of Education], Sir Michael has been very good at pointing out where issues need to be improved, including Ofsted.

"It is definitely that leadership and that passion that is so important in our view for Ofsted, this is not incidentally a question of personality, I know and like and I respect her qualities. It is whether or not she is the right person."

The government do not have to change their decision.

"We test what [the government] does and comment, and that's what we've done, the fact is that's our job," he added. 

"We can't actually force her to change her mind, but she has three options, option one is to appoint, option two is not to appoint, and option three is to pause, and there's plenty of time to do that."