Two frontrunners emerge for Ofsted top job

Toby Salt and Amanda Spielman are the top candidates for chief inspector

Two frontrunners have emerged in the race to be named the next Ofsted chief inspector, TES has learnt.

Toby Salt, the chief executive of Ormiston Academies Trust, and Amanda Spielman, chair of Ofqual and education adviser to Ark Schools, are being touted as the strongest performers in the latest round of interviews for the Ofsted top job.

Interviews took place last week, with both Professor Salt and Ms Spielman, being named as favourites for the role.

But the shortlist of candidates, which is also believed to include Russell Hobby, general secretary of heads’ union the NAHT, and Joel Klein, the former New York city schools commissioner, have yet to appear before education secretary Nicky Morgan.

Reports elsewhere have named Dame Alison Peacock among those still being considered as the replacement for Sir Michael Wilshaw.

TES understands that Dame Sally Coates, the highly decorated former headteacher of Burlington Danes Academy, was also in the running, but she pulled out after being asked to jump through too many hoops.

Both Prof Salt and Ms Spielman have the relevant experience in academy trusts that is believed to be preferred for the next chief inspector.

Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, had been strongly linked with the role, ruled himself out of the running earlier this month.

The DfE will be eager to name Sir Michael Wilshaw’s replacement following a spate of recent outbursts by the chief inspector that led to a fall out with ministers.

Sir Michael is understood to have ended up in hot water following his decision to criticise the performance of academy chains, just before the government’s major Budget announcement to convert all schools into academies.

Having appeared in front of a panel that included the Department for Education’s permanent secretary and Ofsted chair David Hoare, the final candidates will be interviewed by Ms Morgan in the “coming weeks”.

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