Become an Ofsted additional inspector

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The National College, Ofsted and Ofsted’s inspection service providers are working together to identify, train and deploy national leaders of education (NLEs) to become additional inspectors.

The next application round will be publicised in the NLE newsletter and on this web page. A list of frequently asked questions is available:

Questions

  1. How can I become an additional inspector?
  2. What are the benefits of being an NLE and an additional inspector?
  3. Is there a profile of the kind of person required?
  4. Is it mandatory for an NLE to become an additional inspector?
  5. What is the role of an Ofsted additional inspector?
  6. How much time is involved in being an additional inspector?
  7. Is participating in an Ofsted inspection counted as an NLE deployment?
  8. How will NLE additional inspectors be used by inspection service providers – will they definitely get to do inspections?
  9. Could I be asked to inspect a school that I have previously supported as an NLE?
  10. Could I be asked to inspect a school in a different sector or phase than my own?
  11. Could I be asked to inspect a school in my local area?
  12. What are the financial implications of becoming an additional inspector?
  13. How will payments be made? Will schools gain financially?
  14. Will there be opportunities for current headteachers to become Her Majesty’s inspector (HMI)? Will there be opportunities for them to work in a part-time capacity?
  15. There could be problems if an NLE’s school is scheduled for inspection when the head is out inspecting another school – how will this be avoided?
  16. What happens if the NLE’s school ceases to be outstanding?
  17. I am not an NLE: can I become an additional inspector through this route?
  18. How can I find out more information?

Answers

1. How can I become an additional inspector?

If you are a national leader of education* and wish to become an additional inspector then please email nle.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk to register your interest. Those who expressed an interest will be sent application materials when the application window opens. You must then submit your application (which should take approximately 1 hour to complete). Successful applicants must attend training, led by Her Majestys Inspectors of Schools (HMIs) in Nottingham. Participants who successfully complete the training will be signed off as additional inspectors and will then be deployed on inspection teams.

*Training places will not be offered to NLEs who have previously undertaken inspection training with any of Ofsted’s inspection service providers. Heads with a pending application to become an NLE may apply to join the additional inspector training programme, but places will only be offered subject to a successful NLE designation decision having been reached prior to the training commencing.

2. What are the benefits of being an NLE and an additional inspector?

The additional inspector role offers NLEs a further opportunity to improve the education outcomes for children and young people.

NLEs who currently hold both roles report that it has further enhanced the leadership of their national support school (NSS) and the quality of support that they provide to client schools. NLEs are able to draw on their experience of inspection practice to support elements of their work – such as evaluating the quality of lessons – in the schools that they support. NLEs who were trained in the first cohort of this programme have reported that participating in additional inspector training with a group of NLEs is an excellent professional development opportunity.

3. Is there a profile of the kind of person required?

Inspectors should be highly competent and properly trained to use the relevant frameworks effectively, fairly and scrupulously. In addition to credibility and up-to-date professional knowledge, it is essential that inspectors should be competent in their ability to:

  • gather, analyse and interpret relevant evidence
  • make judgements that are objective, fair and based securely on evidence
  • communicate clearly, convincingly and succinctly, both orally and in writing
  • display high levels of professional conduct

4. Is it mandatory for an NLE to become an additional inspector?

No, this is an opportunity for NLEs to participate and learn from inspecting under the Ofsted framework, and to then go on to contribute to the inspection process.

5. What is the role of an Ofsted additional inspector?

Additional inspectors undertake a range of inspection work and are deployed regionally, generally within travelling distance of their own schools.

Work as an additional inspector involves acting as a team member on a section five inspection led by either an experienced additional inspector or an HMI. As you gain experience of inspection, other work might include involvement in monitoring visits to schools in categories of concern, or leading section five inspections.

6. How much time is involved in being an additional inspector?

We anticipate that each additional inspector involved in this training programme would spend nine days out of school in the term while being trained, shadowing an inspection team and teaming on an inspection.

You would then be expected to join inspection teams on further inspections in the following terms for a minimum of twelve days per academic year.

7. Is participating in an Ofsted inspection counted as an NLE deployment?

Yes, during the training period, the National College will note when NLEs are undertaking inspections when Ofsted’s inspection service providers informs us. However, longer term, NLEs will also be expected to continue to fulfil their core NLE role through a wider range of deployments.

8. How will additional inspectors be used by inspection service providers – will they definitely get to do inspections?

Inspectors of maintained schools are required, under section five legislation, to have completed an inspection to the satisfaction of an HMI (this process has come to be known as ‘sign off’). Once NLEs have been signed off they will be asked to provide details of their availability for inspection to their employing inspection service provider. Day four of the training will comprise an induction to service provider systems and processes. NLEs will be deployed according to the number of days that they agree to work with the respective inspection service provider (with an expectation that NLEs will offer at least 12 days per academic year).

9. Could I be asked to inspect a school I have previously supported as an NLE?

You will need to inform Ofsted about schools and local authorities that you have previously worked with to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

10. Could I be asked to inspect a school in a different sector or phase than my own?

Inspections are initially likely to reflect your phase and sector but over time, as you gain experience as an inspector, you may be deployed to inspect different phases and sectors depending on your experience.

11. Could I be asked to inspect a school in my local area?

Yes, but you would only be asked to inspect a school in your local area if you do not have a personal connection with it.

12. What are the financial implications of becoming an additional inspector?

NLEs selected to become additional inspectors will need to pay £1,000 + VAT for the training, and will incur travel costs in relation to the training (in Nottingham) and travel and subsistence costs for shadowing inspections. These costs are eligible to be met using your NSS bursary payment. You will be paid in the region of £325 per day by an inspection service provider for each inspection for which you are a team member, and will have to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements. Inspection service providers will use their best endeavours to ensure that you are allocated to inspections that are located within a reasonable travelling distance. On occasion you may be away from home for at least one night during an inspection.

13. How will payments be made? Will schools gain financially?

Inspection service providers determine the rate of pay for inspection activities. You will decide, in conjunction with your governing body, how payments will be made. In the majority of cases, serving practitioners’ schools will invoice the inspection service providers following an inspection.

14. Will there be opportunities for current headteachers to become Her Majesty’s inspectors (HMI)? Will there be opportunities for them to work in a part-time capacity?

Opportunities to join Ofsted as HMI are and will continue to be advertised in the national press. There is a robust recruitment and assessment process, and Ofsted currently recruits headteachers with a great track record. Ofsted is an equal opportunities employer and flexible working patterns are, and will, be considered according to individual circumstances and the organisation’s business needs.

15. There could be problems if an NLE’s school is scheduled for inspection when the head is out inspecting another school – how will this be avoided?

Given that NLEs provide their availability for inspection in advance, inspection service providers would be able to avoid scheduling them on an inspection at the same time that their own school is being inspected.

16. What happens if the NLE’s school ceases to be outstanding?

Additional inspectors are required to notify the inspection service provider of their school’s most recent overall effectiveness grade. This includes updating them when a further inspection takes place. If your school is judged as inadequate you would no longer be deployed on inspection events. There may be other occasions where a headteacher from an outstanding school becomes a head at an inadequate or requires improvement school, so that their skills and experience can be used to support that school. Situations such as this will be considered by inspection service providers on a case by case basis. You would continue to be deployed if your school moved from outstanding to good.

17. I am not an NLE: can I become an additional inspector through this route?

No, this opportunity is only open to NLEs to combine the benefits of undertaking an inspection with the support that NLEs and NSSs provide to other schools.

However, Ofsted’s inspection service providers recruit additional inspectors. CfBT Education Trust, Serco and Tribal Group respectively provide inspection services for Ofsted in the north, midlands and south of England. See their websites for further information:

18. How can I find out more information?

Please email nle.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk if you have any further questions.