Lee Owston to become Ofsted national director for education

Current deputy director for schools and education will replace Chris Russell in January

Current deputy director for schools and education will replace Chris Russell in January

9 Nov 2023, 13:46

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Lee Owston has been named as the next national director for education at Ofsted.

The current deputy director for schools and education will take over when Chris Russell retires at the end of the year.

FE Week reported in September that Russell would retire after 17 years at Ofsted, and two in the national director role.

Owston, who has worked at the watchdog since 2013, temporarily served as national director of education for “several months” earlier this year, Ofsted said.

Since joining the inspectorate as an HMI, he has taken on several roles in the organisation, including as deputy director of schools inspection improvement.

Owston previously worked in senior leadership positions in schools and was a senior adviser for early education and primary schools for a local authority.

He was also a regional director for now defunct education programme The National Strategies, where he contributed to publications on English, phonics and assessment.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman congratulated Owston, adding that: “I know that this will be a smooth transition given his extensive experience.  

“I also want to thank Chris Russell for his substantial contributions in his time at Ofsted, as national director, education, in his leadership of the post-lockdown inspection restart programme, as a regional director and as an inspector.”

The move comes at a time of upheaval for Ofsted, with Spielman also set to leave at the end of the year.

Sir Martyn Oliver has been confirmed as her successor.

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