Ofqual chair Amanda Spielman put forward to replace chief inspector at Ofsted

Ofqual chair Amanda Spielman has been approved by the government as the next Ofsted chief inspector.

A Department for Education (DfE) source confirmed that the government had cleared the 55-year-old’s appointment.

Ministers will now wait on agreement from the Commons education select committee for final approval, FE Week understands.

A DfE spokesperson said she was the right sort of person to refocus Ofsted and ensure it makes a difference.

However, the move first reported on in the Times Education Supplement is unlikely to be welcomed in some education circles, as as she has not worked as a teacher before and spent much of her career in corporate finance.

Ms Spielman, who was profiled by our sister paper School’s Week, came up against a number of other high-profile candidates for the post – reportedly including the likes of Russell Hobby, general secretary of heads’ union the NAHT, and Toby Salt, chief executive of the Ormiston Academies Trust.


Here’s Ms Spielman’s CV:


July 2011 – Present Chair Ofqual

June 2011 – Education Advisor, Ark

2005 – 2012 Research and policy director, Ark

2002 – 2004 Consultant

1996 – 2000 Strategy Director, Nomura International

1995 – 1996 Principal, Mercer Management Consulting (Boston)

1993 – 1995, Director, Bridgewater Business Analysis

1986 – 1992, Manager in Corporate Finance, Kleinwort Benson

1982 – 1986, Accountant, KPMG UK (formerly KMG Thomson McLintock)

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  1. Barry Adams

    Utterly astounding.
    This woman has no empathy with the trials of teaching in a classroom, but plenty of experience of spreadsheets. That is a summary of current educational leadership and management thinking as well. I shouldn’t be surprised. Morale in schools is at an all time low. This lady’s CV doesn’t suggest that she has the skills to improve it.

  2. Simon Nowell

    This is an appointment based on process over experience.

    We are in a society which chooses rules over experience. If teaching was as simple as delivering a great lesson then why have we not moved to to a classroom where a “perfect” lesson is delivered by video recording supported by a teaching assistant and a retired soldier in the classroom (nearly equivalent cost to an experienced teacher!)

    No one really thinks this is a good idea (although many may hope!) on the really sad grounds that students are people and therefore individuals. It is the ability of TEACHERS to teach a class of 30 INDIVIDUALS that earn them their money. The really tricky thing about INDIVIDUALS is that they are completely different to everyone else. This is true about your own children … but you fail to recognise this about everyone else children!

    Fortunately you have been blessed with a professional cohort of teachers who recognise and adapt to all those individuals in their class, so much so that they can teach them all! Of course they break the rules because your child has particular “issues”. Their teachers love them too! And talk to them, encourage them and when required growl at them. All because they love them!

    I can’t imagine anything more likely to spoil the “teacher magic” than an inexperienced drone appointed to explain to teachers how to teach.

    • Bob Smith

      There are some fantastic examples of Accountants running NHS hospitals. Jim Mackey, for instance, the new CEO of NHS Improvement.

      Nothing like a sweeping generalisation.

        • Bob Smith

          Errr no. The NHS is in trouble because of the funding cuts that have been imposed. It’s got nothing to do with accountants.

          The point I would make is that background doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s about leadership. Personally, I would have expected a body responsible for inspecting educational institutions to appoint someone with knowledge / experience of this area, but it does not mean that she will not be successful.

    • FE Lecturer

      The FE college system is also the same; it’s all about getting them through assignments and there are Key performance indicators to make sure you are under pressure to do so.

  3. LRoding

    Brilliant decision. I know nothing about working in the health service, can I please be considered for the top job in the Health watchdog the next time it’s advertised because I attended a doctors’s appointment the other week and I that gives me the kind of insight necessary to do the job….ta.

  4. bob Smith

    I do agree that it is quite scary that Ofsted have appointed a person with zero experience of inspection, or teaching into this role.

    I’m also not sure that the role was advertised, which if true, is totally unacceptable.

  5. Time will tell regarding this appointment. On the face of it, the appointment looks odd. Having said that, Wilshaw came up through a teaching and learning background. Enough said.

  6. Although anything would be considered better than the current Chief Inspector, who has lost the respect of the Learning and Skills sector and his inspectors, government really knows how to make an appointment without looking at what the person spec should have said. However the next HMCI might look at the allocation of five inspectors for three days to inspect 23 apprentices in one inspection just before Christmas and one two weeks ago where 6883 apprentices were inspected by six inspectors over four days to realise that her managers have no idea of how to allocate resources. It would also be good to have a Chief Inspector who tells the sector about the use of a short inspection model in September, for those who have a good rating, that will be conducted by two inspectors (along with the promise that you do not need to prepare for inspection)only to find that the reality is often six inspectors and more commonly a full inspection that still finds you good but with no explanation as to why you never got the short inspection promised? One assumes that that economy with promises and finances (Sir M was supposed to be cutting the finances for inspection spend this year, thank god he is not running a college with his accounting abilities) is down to the outstanding management of Sir Michael, who will no doubt accept his 20% performance bonus before he retires? If only Dave C would allow the sector to have a vote as to whether we want to stay with Ofsted or go for an inspectorate that is run by people with an FE background like the FEFC and ALI were? What a shame that the FE Commissioner was not sent into Ofsted to sort out their management and finances before he has his deserved retirement having made a contribution that was valued.

  7. FE Lecturer

    If they were going to appoint an accountant they should have made sure they had experience in closing their own organisation down – that would have a very positive impact on education.