Ofsted Recruiting Difficulties

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector has highlighted the difficulty in both attracting and retaining talent to some of the top jobs within Ofsted. He has dismissed this as a ‘blip’ brought about by the recent spate of child protection scandals which may be the reason for the shortage of high quality applicants.

This exchange was captured yesterday when Sir Michael Wilshaw was quizzed by the parliament’s education committee on recruiting issues. Speaking on the current recruitment issue, Sir Michael said: “People will come, people will go, they get promoted elsewhere, they move sideways and so on, we’ve just got to face that fact. We want to make sure that good people are appointed to national positions and that they remain with us for a period of time….It is a blip.”

Sir Michael also spoke of the culture of Ofsted which is not something that everyone will be used to or will find easy to work within. The culture that is spoken of could be indicative of Sir Michael Wilshaw’s style which was tough on discipline when teaching in schools in East London and England.

He also spoke of staffing issues more broadly especially in relation to the spread of high quality teachers throughout the country and across settings. The example used was in relation to science teachers and their apparent shortage especially in more remote areas of the country.

Sir Michael Wilshaw also discussed commissioners of regional schools, which are responsible for approving and monitoring academies and free schools across the country. Sir Michael Wilshaw was unclear as to their effectiveness and in a comment which may elude to the magnitude of the task faced by Ofsted and its inspectors, he stated: “We inspect almost everything that moves at the moment. If the government wants to give us a few more million quid to inspect regional schools commissioners, we would gladly do that.”

Ofsted is under a great deal of pressure to conduct its inspections in a timely fashion and the current inability to attract talent in high level positions and the inability of schools to attract the necessary teacher skill mix are causes for concern. It is hoped that these ‘blips’ are eradicated soon before it causes lasting damage to the education sector.

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