FDA highlights salary levels as a recruitment issue for Ofsted inspectors

26 June 2012
For immediate release

In response to this evening's Radio 4's File on 4 programme, which criticises the quality of Ofsted inspectors, the FDA has voiced its concerns about recruitment difficulties due to falling salary levels and new prime time contracts.

The programme reports that 'failing heads' and those with no teaching experience - or experience at primary level only - are being employed by Ofsted as Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI).

Paul Neilson, FDA national officer responsible for Ofsted, said: "The majority of HMI are highly experienced and successful school leaders. However, with legislation requiring that 75 to 80% of secondary school inspections are led by HMI, it is of paramount importance that Ofsted recruit those with secondary school leadership experience.

"The FDA is concerned that recruiting new HMI with secondary experience is now more difficult, due to the salary levels offered. HMI pay levels have fallen way behind those of secondary school head teachers, which makes the role more attractive to lower-earning primary heads.

"This problem is exacerbated by the offer of new prime time contracts - which the FDA disagrees with - that offer restricted hours and lower pay."

Neilson also referred to the head teacher unions' "campaign of discontent" over the new inspection framework: "This wrongly targets the inspectors who are obliged to work to it despite any personal misgivings they may have".

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. For further information contact:

  • Paul Neilson, FDA National Officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Kay Hender, FDA Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747.