Unions concerned at Ofsted chair’s links to academies


Schools are not businesses, Ofsted’s incoming chairman has been warned.

Teachers’ leaders have also urged David Hoare to ensure his impartiality when it comes to academy and community schools.

Mr Hoare took up his new position on Monday (September 1) after being appointed by education secretary Nicky Morgan over the summer. He replaces out-going chair Baroness Sally Morgan.

He has more than 30 years of experience in business, having worked as chairman or chief executive of a number of large companies such as Laura Ashley, Virgin Express and V Ships. He also spent 10 years at management consulting firm Bain and Company.

In addition, he has been an academies ambassador for the Department for Education and a trustee at the Academies Enterprise Trust – a role he is stepping down from in light of his appointment to Ofsted. However, because of the new chairman’s links to academies and business, all three major teaching unions issued warnings over the summer.

The National Union of Teachers urged Mr Hoare, given his links to the academies programme, to remain “impartial”. General secretary Christine Blower said: “The new chair will need to demonstrate his competence to chair the school inspectorate in an impartial manner with regard to all academy and community schools. Academy status is no panacea. It is essential that Ofsted distances itself from the pressure to force schools to become academies against their will.”

Ms Blower also said that a move away from “punitive, centralised, data-driven judgements on teaching and learning” should be a priority.

The NASUWT, meanwhile, urged him to resist the “politicisation of Ofsted”. General secretary Chris Keates said: “It is important that Ofsted acts in the public interest, and discharges its role without fear or favour. In the light of recent controversies about the increasing politicisation of Ofsted, one of his major challenges will be to restore the confidence of the public and the profession in the governance of Ofsted.”

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said Mr Hoare must remember that “schools are not businesses, and shouldn’t become businesses”.

The education secretary, however, said that Mr Hoare’s business acumen could help Ofsted through a “significant period of change and reform”.

Ms Morgan continued: “He is also passionate about education and his work with academies across the country shows he shares my commitment to ever higher standards in our schools, for all children but particularly the most disadvantaged. I am confident that his strong track record in business and the passion he demonstrated throughout the interview process will be of huge benefit to Ofsted.”

Mr Hoare, who is also chairman of the Teenage Cancer Trust, added: “Ofsted has a key role helping to improve the leadership of our schools and the performance of our pupils. I look forward to being part of the team.”



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