Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes: Who Watches Ofsted?

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Ofsted Bonuses Who Watches The Watchmen


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes is Latin for ‘Who watches the watchmen?’

One of Ofsted’s three key values says: “Accountable and transparent: An organisation that holds others to account must be accountable itself. We are always open to challenge and scrutiny.”

I’ve signed up to almost every Department for Education and Ofsted newsletter and announcement, yet there is one that I didn’t receive in July 2019 when Ofsted published their annual report. Funny that? Therefore, I’ve taken some time to dig into key parts of the report to raise three important questions for the teaching profession.

1. Representing Britain?

According to the 2011 census, the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, and 86.0 per cent of the population was White British. Interestingly, as a London-centric organisation where the BAME population is larger, I wonder if Ofsted is also under-represented as a workforce? There is a full breakdown on the government website.

Ethnicity Breakdown by Region

According to the latest statistics on pupils in schools in England (as collected in the January 2018 school census), in primary schools across England, 33.1 per cent of pupils of school age are of minority ethnic origins, an increase from 32.1 per cent in January 2017. In secondary schools, 30.3 per cent of pupils are of minority ethnic origins, an increase from 29.1 per cent in 2017. My first key question is, one year on, does Ofsted’s leadership team represent the demographics of the English teaching profession and its pupils?

2. Use of taxpayer cash

The second question I’d like to ask is, during a time of austerity, budget cuts and the teaching profession in general struggling with finances, are we happy with Ofsted as an organisation offering bonuses on top of employee salaries? Take a look at the salaries of the most senior members from Ofsted’s leadership team for the year ending 31 March 2019. These numbers, despite a significant budget decrease at Ofsted, feature year-on-year. Bonus payments reach approximately £90,000 in total for 2018/19.

What constitutes a bonus? And why, despite years of asking schools to share PM targets during Ofsted inspections, are performance targets of its leadership team such a secret?

Ofsted Leadership Team Annual Report Bonus

3. Gender pay

On the same topic of pay, my last key question is, why is there still a gender pay gap in any educational organisation today? In Ofsted’s own report, Gender pay gap report and data 2018, said: “Ofsted’s mean gender pay gap has increased from 8.1% to 11.4%, meaning that, on average, men continue to be paid more than women. Analysis shows that the main reason for this continues to be the proportion of male and female employees in different grades.”

The mean gender pay gap has increased by 3.3 per cent, despite the organisation having 67 per cent of women. Men are also still more likely to receive a higher bonus than their women colleagues. I guess the critical question here is, how many females are doing the same job as their male counterparts and not receiving the same pay?

Ofsted Gender Gap Pay 2018

Key questions to be addressed by July 2020

  1. Does this leadership team represent the English teaching profession?
  2. Why is taxpayer cash being used for bonuses?
  3. Why do men receive, on average, an 8 per cent higher salary than women?

I’d be keen to know who are the people asking questions about Ofsted’s leadership team. These questions may not be on everyone’s lips, but they are on mine…

If we want an organisation which lives up the values it puts down on paper, an organisation that holds others to account which is accountable to itself, then my current evaluation is, requires improvement.

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