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Role details

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills

Application deadline 6 April 2023


His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
37 hour(s) per week
£165000 per annum
Length of term
5 years
Application deadline
10am on 6 April 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    13 March 2023

  2. Application deadline

    10am on 6 April 2023

  3. Sifting date

    12 May 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    19 June 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Role description

HMCI is responsible for the leadership and management of Ofsted, and, as its Accounting Officer, is responsible to Parliament for the use of public funds. HMCI sets, implements and delivers Ofsted’s strategy.

HMCI is expected to maintain a strong working relationship with Ofsted’s Board and its Chair. The Board determines strategic priorities from Ofsted’s strategy and sets objectives and targets relating to those priorities.

HMCI is required to:

  • Drive Ofsted to be an ever more focused and effective inspectorate and regulator – one where the quality and credibility of inspection and regulatory activity continues to improve while maintaining value for money;
  • Provide outstanding leadership to Ofsted, maintaining an excellent reputation for reliable and fair judgements, managing change effectively, and demonstrating commitment to an inclusive workplace that values diversity and promotes equal opportunities for all;
  • Ensure that Ofsted appropriately considers safeguarding in schools, colleges and children’s services;
  • Provide advice to the Secretary of State for Education on the areas within Ofsted’s remit, and as requested by the Secretary of State;
  • Lead and inspire His Majesty’s Inspectors and Regulatory Inspectors across the country so that Ofsted builds and maintains a committed and high performing workforce of inspectors with deep expertise;
  • Promote high educational outcomes in an autonomous and increasingly trust-led school system, whilst making fair and rounded judgements;
  • Further improve the quality of Early Years provision and outcomes through an effective inspection and regulatory regime;
  • Ensure that Ofsted continues to drive quality in apprenticeships and the Further Education and Skills sector through effective inspection;
  • Ensure that Ofsted continues to raise standards in children’s social care through effective inspection, responsive to future reforms of the market;
  • Ensure Ofsted continues to drive high standards of teacher development through effective inspection of Initial Teacher Training, Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualification providers;
  • Ensure that Ofsted responds effectively and proportionately to societal challenges, such as the threat of extremism or child sexual exploitation;
  • Ensure that Ofsted demonstrates awareness of, and sensitivity to, challenges providers have to deal with, such as a public health emergency or the impact of inflation on their young people, families and budgets while maintaining a focus on high standards;
  • Respond proactively to the direction of government policy and strategy, such as social care reform, the agenda for skills transformation, reforms to initial teacher training and priority given to evidence-based teacher professional development and the increasing importance of trusts;
  • Protect Ofsted’s reputation with parents, carers, pupils and students, professionals, and employers;
  • Build highly effective working relationships with:
    • the Secretary of State for Education, Ministers and other Government departments;
    • the Permanent Secretary and senior officials of the Department for Education (DfE);
  • Ensure Ofsted has good relationships with:
    • Schools and colleges, children’s services, and early years’ settings, professional and sector bodies, parents and others who draw on Ofsted reports;
    • devolved funding bodies, such as mayoral combined authorities, and other bodies with an oversight and/or regulatory role in further education such as the Office for Students, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and the FE Commissioner; and
  • Represent Ofsted in public debate and maintain its reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable, and independent inspectorate and regulator, able to report independently on standards.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

Applicants must be able to evidence the following skills and experience:

  • Significant experience at a senior level in schools or trusts, including substantial organisational leadership skills and proven experience in leading and managing change in complex organisations.
  • Strong communication and relationship skills in order to build partnerships across a system to raise standards.
  • Excellent judgement under pressure and a high degree of personal integrity, including experience of taking difficult, independent, calls in a senior position with high profile.
  • Understanding of, and ability to utilise, Ofsted’s role in using regulation and inspection to drive up standards and improve the lives of children and young people across England. Specifically, they will need to demonstrate the ability to take forward, build on and improve the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) but also be able to adapt to the changing education and care landscape, such as the increasing importance of Trusts and social care reform.  
  • Understanding of the current political landscape.
  • Sound financial judgement and a clear understanding of value for money, in order to operate effectively as Accounting Officer, managing the Ofsted budget in a way which maximises benefit to the taxpayer.
  • A sound understanding of, and commitment to, equal opportunities.

Desirable criteria

  •       Understanding of the direction of government policy and experience in at least one of the other areas within Ofsted’s inspection and regulatory remit e.g., Further Education, Early Years and Children’s Social Care.

Application and selection process

How to apply

The closing date for applications is Thursday 6th April at 10.00am.

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in to the website.

To create an account please follow the instructions in the following link: Create an account – Apply for a public appointment – GOV.UK (

If you already have an account, please sign in using the link provided: Sign in – Apply for a public appointment – GOV.UK (

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions.

To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a supporting statement
  • equality information information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues.
We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate. 
You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The Advisory Assessment Panel for this role comprises:
Panel Chair and Representative of Department: Heather McNaughton, Director General, Schools Group, Department for Education;
Representative of Ofsted: Dame Christine Ryan, Chair of Ofsted;
Senior Independent Panel Member: Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator of Ofqual;
Other Panel Member: Leora Cruddas, CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts.
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Pre-appointment scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.
If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing.  Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment. 
Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here. 

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for this role if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);
  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are prohibited from teaching or from working with children;
  • you have received a prison sentence or suspended sentence of three months or more in the last five years;
  • you are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order;
  • in certain circumstances, those who have had an earlier term of appointment to another public body terminated;
  • those disqualified under S128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008; and
  • those who have been removed from trusteeship of a charity.
When you apply, you should declare if:
  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 
  • you are subject to a current police investigation.
You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 
When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below).

If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 

Pension and redundancy

This post is pensionable. Ofsted offers the Alpha (career average) scheme and the Partnership (defined contribution) scheme to new joiners to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). If a person is re-joining the PCSPS, they may be eligible to re-join a previous pension scheme – this is dependent on if there was a break in service and how long this was for; the length of time before retirement age; and if there is any public service history. Further information can be found at:

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the Department for Education Public Appointments Team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days. Please include the vacancy title in the subject box.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The Department for Education follows GDPR guidelines on the handling and retention of your private data; the Department's privacy notice is attached.

Contact details

This post is based at Ofsted’s office in London. The role requires frequent travel within the UK, including to Ofsted’s offices across the country, with occasional travel abroad. 
This post is subject to a pre-appointment hearing with the Education Select Committee.
If you have any queries about the role, please contact: