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Search for new Ofsted chief goes global

15/02/2016 Joanna
Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief executive of Ofsted, is due to step down from the role in December. Education secretary Nicky Morgan is understood to be looking to the US as well as within the UK for the next candidate.

It is thought several Americans are to be approached, while the Sunday Times says a figure working in the publicly funded US Charter schools system could be appointed. These schools have expanded across the US in recent years, being credited for boosting attainment in deprived areas and re-energising standards in state education.

However, the government is being urged to look for "homegrown talent" to fill the role. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said there were massive differences between the US and UK systems in terms of funding, structure and unionisation. "It would be wrong to assume that lessons can always be imported wholesale," he said.

"I think seeking homegrown talent might be wiser. Quality of leadership is usually considered higher in the UK, so there’s a good pool to draw from. Our unions are nothing like the US unions in terms of restrictive practices."

Government sources have reportedly told the BBC that leading educationalists in the US have had to face similar issues to their contemporaries in England, not just in raising standards but in responding to the demands of teaching unions.

British candidates for the job are said to include Tim Coulson, a former primary school head who is one of the DfE’s regional schools commissioners and Amanda Spielman, chair of Ofqual. Also, Sir Daniel Moynihan, head of the Harris Federation chain of academies, is being considered, as well as Dame Sally Coates, who is conducting a government review of education in prisons, and Dame Alison Peacock, executive headteacher of Wroxham School in Hertfordshire and a trustee of Teach First.

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "If the government is scouring the world for a new head of Ofsted, they should look to Finland. It is universally agreed to have an excellent education system characterised by co-operation, collaboration and trust." 

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801812552-ADNFCR
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