EDUCATION Secretary Nicky Morgan looks set to pick a new fight with Britain’s teaching profession — by seeking a union-busting US replacement for Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw when he steps down at the end of the year.
According to the Sunday Times, Ms Morgan wants a candidate from the US Charter Schools programme, where public money funds privately run schools on a similar model to Britain’s academies and free schools.
Tipped for Mr Wilshaw’s job is Dave Levin of the Knowledge Is Power programme, which runs over 180 charter schools and has been accused of trying to prevent teachers from joining trade unions — as well as running nine-and-a-half-hour school days and employing teachers on annual contracts.
The Sunday Times said Ms Morgan wanted someone with a “track record of taking on the unions” — which her Labour counterpart Lucy Powell said reflected “an obsession with school structures and political point-scoring rather than a focus on what matters.
“It’s the job of Ofsted to help schools improve, not to pick fights with school leaders or union-bash.”
National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower said that if the government was “scouring the world” for an Ofsted boss it should look to Finland: “It is universally agreed to have an excellent education system characterised by co-operation, collaboration and trust, a far cry from the charter school ethos of the US.”
Finland has escaped the standardised testing regime enforced on British schools, with pupils sitting no externally set exams until they are 18.