Saying thank you when it’s time to say good bye matters.

Twitter was buzzing today. DfE published quite a few free school applications forms and that got everyone talking. The most surprising news, however, was that Mike Cladingbowl , National Director, Inspection Reform, Ofsted was leaving Ofsted in December. He is taking up the Executive Principal role at Knutsford Multi-Academy Trust in Cheshire.

It’s says a lot about Mike that the reaction to his leaving was one of sadness. Mike became the human face and voice of Ofsted. He was always happy to chat, discuss, meet and engage with people. Mike started a series of meetings with educators and school leaders. This was something which hadn’t happened before and was welcomed by all of us. These meetings made it clear, once and for all, that Ofsted doesn’t have a preferred teaching style. Which teacher didn’t rejoice at the end of grading individual lessons! And governors; Mike engaged with us too. After all the bad press that we get, it has felt very good to talk to someone who considers us well and truly part of school leadership. Mike has promised to see if letters to Chairs can be sent directly to them. He made it clear that governors should be given the draft inspection report. He accepts that inspectors should be trained in governance. Every single time I’ve heard Mike speak, he has mentioned governance. We are volunteers. We give up vast amounts of time to our schools and all we ask in return is a little bit of recognition. Mike gave us that. So, I thank Mike for engaging with us, for opening the doors of Ofsted headquarters to us and for taking our concerns seriously. Most of all I thank Mike for humanising Ofsted and for being charming and gracious whenever we met. This new era of engagement is Mike’s legacy. Mike has made Ofsted start to travel down a new path. This must continue. Ofsted will have think long and hard about his successor. Mike’s shoes are big ones to fill!

I wish Mike all the best for the future. Knutsford’s gain is our and Ofsted’s loss!

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Here is a list of blogs written by people who met and discussed issues with Mike.

Andrew Old interviewed Mike and Sean at the Research Ed 2014 Conference.

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