From education to employment

Education Secretary recommends Sir Martyn Oliver as new Chief Inspector of Ofsted

Education Secretary recommends Sir Martyn Oliver as new Chief Inspector of Ofsted

The Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, has announced that she is recommending Sir Martyn Oliver for the post of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills at Ofsted.

Sir Martyn has been selected as the preferred candidate because he is an accomplished school and trust leader with a track record of driving up standards in areas with high levels of disadvantage. He is currently the Chief Executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), a large multi-academy trust (MAT) which has grown under Sir Martyn’s leadership from 17 academies to 41 primary, junior, secondary and alternative provision academies in the North of England.

He was knighted in 2022 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for improving the education of thousands of children.

While supported by OGAT, 35 schools have been inspected – 28 have improved their Ofsted rating (including eight which were Inadequate or Requires Improvement when they started working with OGAT and are now rated Outstanding) and six have stayed the same (including two remaining as Good, and one remaining Outstanding). There are 10 schools rated Outstanding in the trust.

He is also a Trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation, the National Institute of Teaching, and the Office for Students and was a founding trustee of the Confederation of School Trusts. 

Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan said:

“Sir Martyn Oliver has demonstrated exemplary leadership and an unwavering commitment to driving up standards in areas of disadvantage in his time as a school and trust leader.

“I want to sincerely thank Amanda Spielman for successfully steering Ofsted over the last seven years, introducing key reforms including hugely important new education and social care inspection frameworks.

“I am confident the breadth of Martyn’s experience will enable him to build on this vital work as Ofsted moves into the future.”

Under Amanda Spielman’s leadership, Ofsted has evolved, most notably with the introduction of its Education Inspection Framework for schools, early years, and further education in 2019. This has brought a new focus to the importance of a rich, knowledge-based curriculum. 

Ofsted has also put a greater emphasis on the quality of the Initial Teacher Education curriculum by introducing a new framework to help build great teachers. Furthermore, it has introduced new inspection frameworks including inspecting Local Authority Children’s Services in 2018, and a new framework for Area SEND inspections with the Care Quality Commission to make sure that education, health and care services for children with SEND are effective, and that all children in care receive what they need, no matter where they live. 

More recently in June, Ofsted announced changes to improve the inspection arrangements and reduce pressures on teachers and school leaders following the tragic death of Ruth Perry. 

Ofsted has a vital role in maintaining a focus on quality and standards in the context of critical reforms to the education system – including the roll out of T levels, reforms in children’s social care, reforms to Initial Teacher Training and the priority given to evidence-based teacher professional development and the increasing importance of school trusts. 

Sir Martyn has the right experience to provide strong direction during this time across the range of Ofsted’s functions, from schools and colleges to childcare providers and children’s services.

Sir Martyn Oliver, Chief Executive Officer of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, said:

“I am deeply honoured and hugely privileged to have been recommended for this role. Subject to the pre-appointment hearing, I can promise that I will work extremely hard and very closely with the whole sector so that we can together build on what has been done to date to create the best system in all areas of education, children’s services and skills for the benefit of children and young people.

“Working with others, prioritising inclusion, and aiming for the highest standards in all areas have been key principles for Outwood Grange Academies Trust under my leadership and these would remain the case if I am appointed to the Ofsted role.”

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We would like to congratulate Sir Martyn Oliver on his appointment, subject to approval, as the new head of Ofsted. Sir Martyn is a highly experienced and effective education leader and we look forward to working with him as Chief Inspector.

“Ofsted is in great need of reform and we welcome Sir Martyn’s commitment to working closely with the whole education sector. In particular, we will be seeking reform of the inspectorate to ensure that inspections are more consistent, supportive and fairer. There is widespread support for the scrapping of blunt single-word judgements and we hope that this will now be a priority. We recognise that this isn’t a change that can be decided by the Chief Inspector – it is a government decision. However, we hope that the government will see sense and make this change, and we would certainly want to work with the next Chief Inspector on a system to replace graded judgements which works in the best interests of schools, parents and children.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“NAHT congratulates Sir Martyn Oliver on becoming the preferred candidate to become the next chief inspector at Ofsted.

“This appointment comes at a critical moment in Ofsted’s history, with there now being widespread acceptance that significant reform to school inspection in England is urgently required.

“Subject to the appointment being approved, we look forward to engaging with Sir Martyn and discussing what role a reformed inspectorate should play going forward.”

Related Articles