Ofsted chief unveils plans for middle leader secondment programme


Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman has unveiled plans for a middle leader secondment programme, designed to encourage them to spend a year working as full-time inspectors.

Addressing members of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) at their annual conference, she said the watchdog wants to involve more leaders in inspections.

Plans for one-year secondments for middle leaders would help to address the issue and is viewed as a way of helping to ease the burden on existing inspectors.

Ms Spielman explained that the proposals only relate to middle leaders at this stage and that the inspectorate is keen to draw on the wealth of experience that already exists within the education system.

“Many of our inspectors are serving school leaders, and we plan to start a secondment programme early next year to involve even more of them,” she explained.

“They will get access to training and development, and through inspection gain insight into what all different types of school are doing.”

She added that the leaders would then be able to return to their schools after a year away and pass on the knowledge and skills they had acquired.

Ofsted has acknowledged that fewer inspections were carried out in the last year due to a shortage of inspectors, meaning that targets for the year were not met.

However, 94% of state-funded schools were inspected, with Ofsted revealing that it has worked to enhance the capabilities of its inspectors, meaning more work can be carried out in a shorter time frame.

The initial plans for the secondment programme will see it offered to part-time Ofsted inspectors, although Ms Spielman said she would eventually like to see it “open to any school leader who has had some whole school responsibility”.

Following an initial pilot, the scheme could be offered more widely from January 2020, she added.