Visits to English Schools by Amanda Spielman


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Amanda Spielman

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Which schools has Amanda Spielman visited since her appointment as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector?

On 11th December 2018, I made a Freedom of Information request to Ofsted. I wanted to know which schools Amanda Spielman had visited since her appointment, including what conferences and teacher-training events she has attended on a Saturday.

Image credit: The Guardian.

Freedom of Information

“Dear Ofsted, Please could you advise of the number of visits to early years, primary, secondary state schools and colleges by Amanda Spielman since she became HMCI on 1st January 2017. I already know you have provided details for primary schools on 03.12.18 (but the date period does not include her full tenure). Could you also include events that she has attended on a Saturday? I would like this data broken down by:

  1. Ofsted grading
  2. Type of school (including free school, grammar, studio etc)
  3. Region
  4. Date of visit
  5. Name of school/event.”

Ofsted responded …

“In relation to the first part of your request: we hold information about the early years provisions, schools and further education colleges visited by HMCI Amanda Spielman between 1 January 2017 and 11 December 2018, and this list can be provided to you. Please find this list in attached Annex A. Information about the latest Ofsted inspection outcome, type of provision and region for each setting can be found on our website using the inspection report search function. (This took about one hour to do.) In relation to the second part of your request: we hold information about the conferences attended by HMCI Amanda Spielman on Saturdays, since her appointment. This can be provided to you. Please find this list in attached Annex A.”

Initial analysis

Since 1st January 2017, Amanda Spielman has visited 35 schools throughout the 709 day period. We know Spielman’s key role is not to visit schools, but we have taken this broad figure into the calculation

If we remove the 6-week summer holiday, two weeks at Easter/Christmas and February and October half term (this equates to 37 weeks work per year), this means Amanda Spielman has visited 35 schools from a possible ~518 days in her position. If we also remove the weekends (148 days) from the possible ‘school weeks’ Spielman could visit a school, this leaves 35 schools out of a possible 370 days (over a two-year period).

On 19 April 2018, Spielman did visit 4 school settings in one day in Derby. If you compare this to the person in charge of education, Damian Hinds has a 2.1 school visit ratio in the year since he was appointed; Nick Gibb has a 6.1 school visit ratio over a longer period of time and Amanda Spielman has an average of 0.1 schools per week.

Ofsted rating at the time of visit

Let’s break down the demographics of Spielman’s school visits, their type and Ofsted rating at the time of her visit.

  • Number of Outstanding schools visited = 9 schools
  • Number of Good schools visited = 14 schools
  • Number of Requires Improvement schools visited = 0 schools 
  • Number of Inadequate schools visited = 3 schools 
  • Number of Special Measures schools visited = 0 schools
  • Number of schools with no Ofsted rating visited = 8 schools
  • Note, schools with no Ofsted rating are largely academy converters.

Shadow Inspections

  • Number of schools Spielman shadowed an Ofsted inspection team = 9 schools
  • Ofsted’s FOI: One school’s URN in Stoke-On-Trent (which was also shadowed by Spielman) could not be found on Ofsted’s database – where has it gone? One school’s Ofsted report was published on the day of a visit.

Types of school

  • Number of academy schools visited = 15 schools
  • Number of community schools visited = 7 schools 
  • Number of 16-19 visited = 7 colleges, Inc. High-Speed Rail
  • Number of early years visited = 4 schools
  • Number of ITT institutions visited = 1 training provider
  • Number of free schools visited = 0 schools
  • Number of pupil referral units visited = 0 schools

Conferences attended

  1. CofE Foundation for Educational Leadership Conference – 4 February 2017
  2. NAHT Annual conference – 29 April 2017
  3. Harris Federation Senior Leaders Conference – 8 July 2017
  4. ResearchEd – 9 September 2017
  5. ARK Teach – 25 November 2017
  6. ASCL Annual Conference – 10 March 2018
  7. ResearchEd – 8 September 2018
  8. New Voices Conference – 13 October 2018

It is good to see Spielman has visited challenging schools, but there is a clear bias towards academies. In forced conversions, Spielman has shadowed some to better understand how the inspection process operates at the sharper end of the wedge. This is welcomed news – whether these outcomes are accurate and reliable is another matter – as no one quite knows what inspectors do after the inspection. After all, 22 schools required a second inspection because of school or inspector problems …

It’s quite worrying that one’s schools URN is incorrect in the FOI.


4 thoughts on “Visits to English Schools by Amanda Spielman

  1. Thanks for sharing – last January 2019 Amanda attended the Association for Science Education conference and gave a key note input. That’s not on the list here as attending conferences. Is it not relevant?

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