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Nicky Morgan Defies Education Committee’s Rejection Of Chief Inspector Appointment

After questioning, Committee left with 'significant concerns' regarding ARK adviser's suitability for the post

  • Nicky Morgan Defies Education Committee’s Rejection Of Chief Inspector Appointment

The Education Committee announced this morning that it is ‘unable to support’ the appointment of Amanda Spielman to the post of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, after questioning the candidate at a pre-appointment hearing.

Spielman, who has previously served Chair of Ofqual and education advisor to ARK, emerged as Nicky Morgan’s recommended candidate for the post last month. Following the hearing, however, the Education Committee is now calling on Morgan to not proceed with the appointment.

According to the Committee’s chair, Neil Carmichael, “Ms Spielman has experience of secondary education but she did not persuade that she had a clear understanding of the other aspects of the Chief Inspector’s role, including early years, primary education, FE, and children’s services.

“Ms Spielman’s responses on child protection were particularly troubling and did not inspire confidence that she grasped the importance of Ofsted’s inspections in preventing children being held at risk through service failure. As a Committee, we did not leave the session with the view that Amanda Spielman was prepared for the vast scope and complexity of this important role.”

“It is unusual for a Select Committee to find itself unable to support the Government’s preferred candidate for a public appointment. However, it is our responsibility to hold Government to account and the seriousness of our concerns regarding this appointment has led us to produce this Report to the House of Commons.”

You can view the hearing in full below:

The hearing also seems to have renewed concerns among the committee regarding the ability of Ofsted’s management to properly oversee children’s services. Today’s announcement goes on to recommend that in the short-term, a Deputy Chief Inspector be appointed to oversee the inspection of children’s services once a new Chief Inspector has taken up the post.

In addition, there is now apparently agreement within the Committee that the remit of Ofsted is now too large. As such, the Committee’s members have proposed resurrecting an idea previously put forward by their predecessors during the last Parliament, to split Ofsted into an ‘Inspectorate for Education’ and an ‘Inspectorate for Social Care’.

100% confident

Responding to the Education Committee’s recommendation, Nicky Morgan announced that Amanda Spielman remained her preferred candidate for the role of Ofsted Chief Inspector.

The Education Secretary is quoted as saying, “I was disappointed that the decision wasn’t shared by the committee who I believe have underestimated her. Having considered their response, I remain 100% confident in my decision and will continue with the pre-appointment process.

“I believe Ms Spielman will make a highly effective leader of Ofsted who will not shy away from challenging government, schools or local authorities to ensure the best for our children and under her watch Ofsted will play a hugely important role in driving improvement in childcare, schools, children’s services and adult learning.”

Spielman herself welcomed Morgan’s intervention, tweeting the below earlier today.

Also lending their support to her appointment is the ASCL. According to interim general secretary, Malcolm Trobe, “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to press ahead with the appointment of Amanda Spielman as the new Ofsted Chief Inspector.

“We were surprised that the Education Select Committee decided that it was unable to support her appointment and we do not agree with its conclusions. In our view, Amanda’s intellect, knowledge and experience make her highly suitable for a role which is effectively that of a chief executive officer overseeing a large, complex organisation with a wide range of responsibilities.”

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