UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 1607 -i

House of COMMONS

Oral EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE the

Education Committee

Pre-Appointment hearing with the Government's preferred candidate for HM Chief Inspector, Ofsted

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Sir Michael Wilshaw

Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 – 52

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Education Committee

Members present:

Mr Graham Stuart (Chair)

Neil Carmichael

Pat Glass

Damian Hinds

Ian Mearns

________________

Examination of Witness

Witness: Sir Michael Wilshaw, Preferred candidate for HM Chief Inspector, Ofsted, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair : Good morning, Sir Michael, and welcome to this preappointment hearing of the Education Select Committee. As you are aware, Ofsted is accountable to Parliament through this Committee and, if you are appointed to this post, we look forward to working with you and hearing about the school system, the care system and the workings of Ofsted itself. I will begin by quoting from this Committee’s report into Ofsted, which said that "different models of inspection are needed for different settings". Do you think that is true?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Yes, I think it is true because there are seven areas of the education service that Ofsted inspects, so obviously different issues apply and different concerns arise. Nevertheless, the same principles, in terms of inspection, apply to all those. These are: to be fair and consistent; to be rigorous; and to ensure that high standards are reached in all those aspects of the service.

Q2 Chair : What would you see as the differences?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: When you go to a school there will be things you look at that would be different from what you would look at in the social care system, education in the Prison Service and so on. Nevertheless, the same principles of high standards, rigour, consistency and challenge need to apply to all of those sections.

Q3 Chair : What are your main ambitions in post and how long do you think it may take you to achieve those ambitions?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Ofsted is about raising standards and it seems to me that there are only two levers for raising standards; one is Government and regulation, and the other is Ofsted. Ofsted has to be credible; it has to have rigour and be seen as fair. The service has to ensure it takes Ofsted seriously and Ofsted has to take what it does seriously. So it is about raising standards across the board.

Q4 Chair : I am interested to hear you say you think there are only two levers to raise standards, Ofsted and Government regulation.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: They are the two main levers for raising standards.

Q5 Chair : I am sure that as a highly distinguished head teacher yourself you would recognise the ability of teachers and schools working together to raise standards separately from external imposition.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: In terms of accountability, Government and Ofsted are the two main levers. As serving teachers and serving head teachers we are always concerned about what Government is going to do and we are always concerned about when Ofsted is next going to appear. That is what I mean by the two main levers for raising standards and accountability.

Q6 Chair : You have had a lifetime in education but most inspections carried out by Ofsted are in the children’s care sector. What do you think makes you qualified to lead an organisation the majority of whose inspections are in the area of care rather than education?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: As a head teacher I am involved in both areas. Mossbourne, the school I lead, has 100 children on the Child Protection Register and 12 looked-after children, so that interface between what goes on in the classroom and what happens outside the classroom and the background of children is uppermost in my mind. There is obviously an issue in terms of the relationship that goes on in schools between education, pedagogy and the background of children; that is obvious at a micro level. At a macro level Ofsted has to be concerned about what happens in schools in developing that relationship, and at local authority level as well. But you are quite right in saying that my experience is in schools.

Q7 Chair : One of the concerns that this Committee and its predecessor have had about Ofsted over the years is that Ofsted is seen by the public as primarily an education-focused organisation. When we had seminars behind closed doors with inspectors we found that inspectors, like ourselves, easily slip into talking about Ofsted as if it is an education-focused organisation. The different, although complementary, world of child care has not always had the senior-level representation that we felt it ought to, which has helped lead us to conclude that Ofsted should be split in two. What are your thoughts on that?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Although my expertise is in schools, I would hope that at senior levels in Ofsted there would be people who have a large amount of experience and expertise in social care and children’s services. John Goldup, who I have yet to meet, apparently is that person and I will be leaning very heavily upon his expertise and anyone else involved in that area of Ofsted’s work.

The only thing I would say on that is that if you have a good school system and a high-performing school system then the number of youngsters referred to social care will be reduced because a lot of those problems would be resolved in schools. Where schools do not deliver, and attainment and performance are not good, often those youngsters end up in social care or subject to the concerns of children’s services. Regarding your last point about whether it should be split up, that debate has been ongoing for a number of years. A lot of time and effort has gone into amalgamating those services, and to separate them now, I imagine, would cause a great deal of work and use a lot of my time if I was appointed to this post. It is not my decision but one of Government’s on the basis of the advice I give and listening to the Select Committee as well.

Q8 Chair : I do hope you will consider our concerns in that area carefully. As you say, it is a Government decision, and perhaps our recommendation went against the spirit of the times in terms of numbers of nongovernmental organisations, but we feel there is a qualitative difference between inspection in education and in social care. Notwithstanding the point you made about a better school system reducing the need for social care, that does not mean you do not need specialists in both areas, however closely they work.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Yes.

Q9 Ian Mearns: Good morning, Sir Michael, and welcome. I am actually very interested in developing that issue later as I think it is important. From my perspective, a school can do an awful lot to improve the prospects for the welfare of the child if we can get the child in the school in the first place. Quite often that is a difficult role in communities where some parents do not have a high regard for education per se.

I want to go back to why we are here this morning: the recruitment process. Prior to your appointment, how familiar were you with the current Secretary of State for Education? Had you met him on a number of occasions?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: He has visited Mossbourne on more than one occasion. I have met him at my school, I have spoken on the same platform as the Secretary of State on a number of occasions and I have been asked to give him advice on previous occasions. So yes, I do know him and have spoken to him.

Q10 Ian Mearns: Prior to this post coming up, had he ever discussed with you the prospect of you possibly being HMCI in the future?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: He did mention it at some stage in the summer and asked whether I would consider it, and I did consider it.

Q11 Ian Mearns: So, from your perspective, were you headhunted for the role?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I had headhunters appointed by the Department phoning me up on several occasions, and at that point I did not consider it. However, when I was asked to see the Secretary of State who asked me to consider it, I went back and consulted my family, friends and colleagues and then made a decision to apply in the summer.

Q12 Ian Mearns: So did your attitude change towards the job? You did not think it was something for you and then later decided you would apply; was that because of the intervention of the Secretary of State and the headhunters?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: If you are asking whether I took time to consider this, then yes I did. My expertise has always been in running a particular institution and a group of institutions: schools. This is a much wider brief and, as has already been suggested, I have limited expertise in the field of children’s services, for example, and other areas that Ofsted inspects. My view has always been that if you are going to lead any organisation-particularly a large one-you depend upon other people with more expertise than you have. Running Ofsted, or being Chief Inspector of Ofsted, is about leading teams of people with more expertise than you have in particular areas. My job would not work, and Ofsted would not work, if I decided to make decisions on those areas that I knew very little about without consulting those people who did have expertise.

Q13 Ian Mearns: You have now been offered this post. Is it at all difficult from your perspective that you may not have been the first choice, and you have been come to after a process has been undertaken with other candidates?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I did not think of it in those terms of not being the first choice; I would hope that I was. However, this is an opportunity to influence education and related services; it is a hugely influential post in terms of the judgments Ofsted makes, the criteria for those judgments and communicating key issues to members of the service. Turning down that opportunity would be something I would possibly regret and would be churlish.

Q14 Ian Mearns: You are coming into the job when the Government have been in post for 18 months and there is a very marked shift in Government policy from New Labour to the new Secretary of State and his policy outlook. Do you see that as a challenge in the post?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: You say that it is "very marked". I am not sure that it is that marked. Leaving aside the free school issue, both New Labour and the Coalition have raising standards in their sights. So I do not see it as a huge difference in terms of policy and policy outlook. New Labour supported academies and this Government is extending that provision. Both New Labour and this Government are passionate about raising standards, particularly for the disadvantaged in our communities. So I do not see it as a huge difference in outlook.

Q15 Damian Hinds: Clearly Ofsted is one of the commanding heights of the British education system. As the Chair rightly said, there are obviously lots of things that impact standards, but in terms of system-wide levers, as you rightly identified, there are really only two. So whoever fills the post you are looking to fill can have a massive impact on education. Can you talk us through your vision for education? Given that Michael Gove has said some very nice things about you, as we were discussing, can we assume that it is fairly similar to his and can we also assume that it is fairly similar to Tony Blair’s?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: My passion-it is a real passion, and will be a continuing one if I am appointed to this post-has always been to raise standards across the board, but specifically to raise standards for those who have been let down by our school system for many years. I have been a teacher for 43 years; I worked in inner London in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when I think whole generations of young people were badly let down.

Ofsted came into being in 1992 and more accountability systems, such as the publication of examination results and league tables, came in after that. That has enormously improved our school system, but not sufficiently so. So, although we are better, we have a long way to go. I am passionate about raising standards for those who have been let down and were let down in the period I have just referred to. We are not there yet, but if we do that successfully, it will put pressure on those schools that are dealing with mainstream children who are not categorised as those with a disadvantage, but who are not doing as well as they should-call those coasting schools-and on teachers and head teachers in those schools. So I am passionate about raising standards for those children who, as I say, have been let down and for the weakest and most disadvantaged in our society. If we can do that successfully, it will raise standards overall for our country.

Q16 Damian Hinds: Following the piece in last night’s Evening Standard, which included an interview with you, I wondered what your vision is for the way society in general interacts with, treats, nurtures and develops children, and what implication that has for your vision for children’s services outside the school system.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: The point I was making to the reporter was that schools have always had a hugely important part to play in society but even more so now because of a level of dysfunctionality in the sort of areas in which I work. Schools, teachers and head teachers have to become much more involved in the lives of children beyond the end of the school day and take a greater interest in what happens outside the school. The attainment and achievement of children in the sort of schools in which I work will go up only if that policy is held by schools involving children in challenging areas. An extended school day, a lot of community work going on inside and outside the school, and knowing that children are going to go home and do their homework are all things that have to happen in our schools if we are to raise performance levels for those children.

Q17 Damian Hinds: What would be your priorities for your first 100 days in post?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: The first few days in post would be spent finding out how Ofsted works and meeting the senior team in the organisation. However, I think it is really important that in those first 100 days I set priorities and try to stick to them. Because it is such a huge organisation with such a wide remit, I think it would be easy to be distracted and try to do too much, therefore losing impact. It is really important that I use my expertise to focus on the issues I have just discussed with you but also to focus on things that are going to be very important in Ofsted’s focus.

Q18 Damian Hinds: Can I ask about management complexity? As you mentioned, it is a big, broad organisation; what will the span of control be and how many direct reports will you have?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: From Ofsted?

Q19 Damian Hinds: No, sorry, not Ofsted reports, but how many people will be reporting to you? On the organisation charts-

Sir Michael Wilshaw: In my present experience?

Q20 Damian Hinds: No; I am asking how many it will be in the new role.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I would assume that there is a senior team in place and there are directors for each of the different services. I would assume that they would be reporting to me on a weekly basis.

Q21 Damian Hinds: Do you know how much freedom you will have in the organisation?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I do not until I get in there, but I will be appointed as Chief Inspector so I have to make the decisions that will affect the education service and those areas that will be subject to inspection.

Q22 Damian Hinds: What management span have you had before? How many people do you have reporting to you now, in your current role?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: At Mossbourne there would be a senior team of 12 people reporting to me. I am Director of Education for an education charity, ARK, which has eight schools at the moment and is expanding. So I am responsible for the performance of those eight schools and the performance of the head teachers of those schools.

Q23 Damian Hinds: How much freedom would you have in post on the hiring and firing of your direct reports?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Again, that is something I will have to determine when I get in there. It is like any organisation: you want people around you who you feel you can trust and who are going to support you in what is obviously going to be a very challenging job. Hopefully I will have that when I go in there.

Q24 Damian Hinds: When you eventually leave the job, and that may be many years hence, what do you hope people say about you?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: That they knew who I was. That might seem a silly thing to say but it is important that they knew who I was, knew what I stood for and said that I had made a difference.

Q25 Pat Glass: Previous Chief Inspectors have either been long-term inspectors or have held very senior posts right across the piece within education and child protection. You acknowledge that you have spent your time in schools and in London. I think that you would recognise that you have huge gaps in your expertise; what is your plan for filling those gaps?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Well, despite my venerable old age, I think I am a fast learner and therefore I would have to make sure that, in the first 100 days, I would be visiting schools and the other areas that Ofsted inspect. I will ensure that I try to find out as much as I possibly can about those areas, the concerns that people have and the main issues that Ofsted is faced with.

Q26 Pat Glass: The recruitment pack asks for experience of working with a chair and nonexecutive members. Do you have that experience?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Well I work with the ARK Board and there are nonexecutive members there, including the Chair of Ofsted.

Q27 Pat Glass: The Education Select Committee carried out an inquiry into Ofsted; have you read it?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I have.

Q28 Pat Glass: One of the things that came out of that was that there were real issues around the perception of Ofsted in schools and children’s social services departments and we saw a real problem with the culture and ethos. Do you think your reputation as a sergeant major is going to help with that? What is it going to look like out in the schools?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Some people here are reporters and have been to my school, so I am going to blame them for calling me a sergeant major. That is a journalistic piece of fiction. In 43 years of my life as a teacher I have never been called a sergeant major. I might as well get this out of the way: the title of "Clint Eastwood" has also been given to me. This came from a knockabout after-dinner speech when I was talking to a group of head teachers, and I did not know a member of the TES was there or I would maybe have used different language. I said that, in the most challenging schools where the teaching was not any good, the staff were not up to it and the senior team were not up to it, the head would have to go in and sort it out alone, and I referred to the image of Clint Eastwood. I think I am a successful head teacher and a successful Director of Education at ARK because I am good at working with people. You cannot do anything as a leader unless you trust the people you work with within your teams.

Q29 Chair : Which one are you: Dirty Harry or the Man with No Name?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Well, I have a name. Occasionally I have been known to be a bit like Dirty Harry, I suppose.

Q30 Ian Mearns: "Make my day".

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I have to say that when I saw the front cover of the TES following that speech I nearly fell through the floor because there was a picture of me and Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry mode with a headline underneath saying, "Make my day-a model for 21st century school leadership".

Q31 Pat Glass: Nevertheless, the perception is out there, so what are you going to do to gain credibility with professionals across the piece?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Credibility comes from knowing about things and knowing that you have been successful at it. There will be people out there, heads and teachers, who know that I spent a long time in schools in the most challenging areas and have been successful at it, so I come with a bit of street cred on that. In terms of being that sergeant major or tough guy, this is about taking on very difficult issues. In schools, we have about 50% of youngsters not getting five A*-C grades, which is much more the case with poorer children. We have something like 200,000 children, which is a huge number, who do not get average levels in English and Maths each year. That is a serious issue. We have to raise standards in our schools and if that means giving out tough messages about the quality of leadership in teaching then that is necessary.

Q32 Pat Glass: I would like to focus on the other areas-on child protection safeguarding, alternative education and adoption. The perception out there will be that this is someone who knows nothing about them at all, so what are you going to do to gain credibility with those people?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I will be straight talking. If you are talking about child care and child protection in children’s services then there are people responsible for that and for dealing with the serious issues of the most vulnerable children. Therefore, they have to subscribe to codes of conduct and regulation, and I would expect them to do that. If they see me as somebody who will make demands of them, that is fine by me.

Q33 Pat Glass: Moving on to finance, Ofsted has a huge budget, it is a big organisation; do you believe you have the financial skills to manage an organisation with that kind of budget?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Well, I run a large budget at Mossbourne and I have issues of budgetary control in the ARK schools. Again, I will be leaning upon other people to give me advice on how to handle the budget, particularly in terms of reducing the budget in line with expectations.

Q34 Neil Carmichael: In answer to one of Damian’s questions earlier you talked about the organisation as being extraordinarily large and diverse-that was the point you made. If you are not that keen on the idea of splitting it up, I was just wondering how you would reorganise it to reflect that diversity and to make sure the various component parts were properly geared to the tasks ahead.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: That would be related to the priorities that I set in those first 100 days. When I get in there, speak to people and try to identify what those priorities are, it will mean ensuring that the organisation focuses on those priorities. As I said, the great danger of this role would be to try and do too much and cover every base, which would be a huge mistake. Alongside fellow professionals in Ofsted and the Department, I will seek to focus on those key issues and make sure the organisation works on those key issues. If, after a period in office, I felt that the organisation was far too unwieldy, was not working and could not focus on those priorities, then my advice to the Department, and also to the Select Committee, would be that it needs to be split up as soon as possible.

Q35 Neil Carmichael: From the vantage point of being a head teacher, what did you think of the report when you read it?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: The Annual Report?

Neil Carmichael: Yes.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: In some aspects it makes pretty depressing reading that we have such a long way to go in terms of raising standards.

Q36 Neil Carmichael: Sorry, I meant our report.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I think the points that you raised about whether the organisation is too unwieldy to work effectively are very valuable. I think the points you raised about outstanding schools not being inspected were very valid as well, and that is something I would have to look at; it would be a concern of mine as well that outstanding schools can decline. It is important that we know when they are declining and go in there as quickly as possible. A lot of Ofsted inspectors go into special-measures schools and schools that are not up to the mark, but it is really important that they know what good looks like, what outstanding looks like, and disseminate that good practice. I don’t think we do that particularly well. Ofsted produces a report on 12 exceptionally good secondary schools and 12 exceptionally good primary schools, which merit a few lines in the TES and the national press, but we should constantly go on about those issues that make good schools and make sure they are the benchmarks for all schools to improve.

Q37 Neil Carmichael: One of the issues that we explored during the evidence gathering was the difference between making judgments and simply targets and box ticking. At the end of the day it is easy to look at a particular measurement, tick it and say it is achieved, whereas actually it is about the judgment and what is happening at the school behind that achievement or non-achievement. Would you like to comment on that?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I agree with that. I am sorry to keep referring to my own experience, but a good head is out of his office all the time. I rarely spend more than a few hours in my office each day; most of my time is spent wandering the corridors, going out into classrooms and seeing what is going on. The same should be the case with Ofsted inspectors; as soon as they go in, they have to go to those areas that clearly indicate whether the institution is working well. Data has to be looked at, but often it can be looked at prior to the inspection.

Q38 Neil Carmichael: In terms of the appointment of inspectors to Ofsted, one of the things I have noticed when I have come across inspectors, either in action or retired inspectors, is that they give me the impression, at least, that they are comfortable with what they experienced in their past and therefore apply that experience to the inspection they are carrying out at that time or afterwards. In other words, they are basically saying, "My experience is what matters; let’s see how that compares with the school." So the appointment of inspectors is really critical, because you actually want people to move on. You are identifying, I think, a lot of the problems we have in our education system. We need people to think about what is happening next and not just be satisfied with what they themselves experienced. How do you think that can be addressed in appointing future inspectors?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: It is a bit like saying that the quality of the education service is only as good as the quality of the teachers in schools; the quality of the inspection service will very much depend on the quality of inspectors. When I first became a head, way back, the progression route for successful heads was to go into HMI. My concern is that that is becoming less and less common now, I think in the main because of salary differentials. We need to make sure that very successful leaders of our schools and other institutions go into HMI. That is important because they know how to run things successfully and are up to date with present working practices. It is really important that HMI and other inspectors know what is going on in the world of education today and are up to date with it, so they do not hark back to when they were in schools or other education institutions 10 years ago.

Q39 Neil Carmichael: In the evidence you have given so far, you have drawn attention to tackling schools that are not doing a good job. We looked at that in some detail when we were gathering evidence as well, and one of the themes we were testing was whether the inspection process is simply a measurement or part of an improvement process. Where do you see the inspection process along a line from simply a measurement to really quite an important part of improvement?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I think it is a measurement and I have read your debate on that topic; it is a measurement and a judgment with key issues to be addressed by the school or other institutions. Once Ofsted gets involved in the improvement process then it inspects itself and that would be silly. I am very clear that Ofsted has to go in, make a judgment and point the way forward for the school, but the improvement process is for the school, or for the other parts of the service, to do something about it and for other providers to go in and support that institution.

Q40 Chair : On that point, Sir Michael, we felt that schools’ inspections should be, essentially, that mirror but that child care might require more of a partnership from the inspection. How will you get yourself in a position to make that judgment? So far you have said that you are very clear about your educational background and you will trust your deputies, but it will be you calling the shots and the tendency for people, senior or junior, is to base their judgments on their previous experience. How are you going to make the right call on that?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: That is a difficult one. One of the things I have to do is go into those areas where I have little experience-that I am not conversant with-and find out what makes them work and what the issues are. If those partnership arrangements that you refer to need to be done well, then we have to do that.

Q41 Chair : Have you looked at the make-up of the senior level of Ofsted? Do you have any thoughts on whether the right mix of skills is in place reflecting its remit?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I have had one visit with the acting Chief Inspector. I am still head teacher of Mossbourne and doing my work at ARK so my time has been limited up to now, but between now and January I will be going in a lot more and meeting people that are involved at a senior level.

Q42 Chair : In its response to our report, Ofsted suggested that a future Head of Ofsted might choose to have a deputy, specifically heading up the social care side.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I would not be averse to that but, at the same time, I would accept that I am ultimately responsible for the success of that service.

Q43 Chair : Do you have any thoughts about teacher careers? You have talked about trying to make sure that outstanding head teachers become HMIs, as they used to in the old days. Do you think there is a role for sabbaticals from the teaching profession? Another recommendation of our report was to try and make sure there were more people with recent frontline service coming in, perhaps on a sabbatical basis. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I have never had a sabbatical so I would strongly support that, because there is an element of burnout and people need to be refreshed. This all comes down to money at the end of the day and whether it can be afforded. I think it has to be, and we have to look at creative ways of doing this-of giving people who are successfully doing very tough jobs time off to refresh themselves. Although I have never taken a sabbatical, when I have noticed someone on my staff suffering because of burnout-a successful person who is not backsliding and wanting more time off-then I have found the money to do that.

Q44 Chair : Talking of money, the budget of Ofsted has come down-

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Hugely.

Chair : It is something like a 43% reduction for the same areas and is coming down fast in the next few years, down to about £140 million from well over £200 million. What are your thoughts on that? How well positioned and how able do you think you will be to fight your corner and make sure this critical lever in our education and care systems actually has the resource it needs to add the value you want it to?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: We are living in constrained times and I and Ofsted will have to live within the budgets set for it. If I felt the inspection service could not function and as a result there was risk for children, particularly in the children’s services sector, and we could not inspect schools and other institutions properly, then I would obviously have to go back to the Department and say that they needed to up the funding for Ofsted.

Q45 Pat Glass: Carrying on with the issue of money and these constrained times, when the public sector is facing pay restraint and even pay freezes, do you think a salary of £180,000 is appropriate?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: It has to be compared with other public service jobs and jobs at this senior level. It has to attract the best people and if you do not offer particular levels of salary you are not going to attract those people. It is for other people to judge whether it is appropriate. All I would say is that, if you look at headship now, there will be people earning well over £100,000 in the secondary sector running our schools; if they are running a federation of schools they are approaching that sort of salary, if not more.

Q46 Pat Glass: Do you have a policy on bonuses?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: We offer bonuses at my institution based on performance. ARK, the organisation I work for, which is running eight or nine academies, offers bonuses. I am not against bonuses.

Q47 Pat Glass: This is a five-year post; can you clarify for the Committee how long you intend to remain in the post?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: I am going to sign a five-year contract. I am 65 at the moment. I was watching Alex Ferguson jumping up and down on the bench the other day and he is 71, I think, so as long as my health holds out I will do this.

Q48 Pat Glass: You intend to stay the five years?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Yes.

Q49 Neil Carmichael: Jim Callaghan became Prime Minister at 65.

Sir Michael Wilshaw: So did Churchill.

Q50 Neil Carmichael: Yes, absolutely; you are in good company there. I have some pedestrian questions really. Do you intend to retain existing posts in education whilst you are holding this new post?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: No.

Q51 Neil Carmichael: Do you believe that you and Baroness Morgan of Huyton, considering your close involvement with ARK, are a sufficiently diverse duo to lead such a wide-reaching organisation?

Sir Michael Wilshaw: Baroness Morgan advises the ARK board. I have very little to do with Sally Morgan other than meeting her occasionally in the lift going downstairs. I report directly to Lucy Heller who is the Managing Director of ARK Schools, so I do not see any conflict of interest there.

Q52 Chair : Thank you very much, Sir Michael, for giving evidence to us this morning. We have discussed everything from your remuneration, a fistful of dollars, through to the good, the bad and the ugly of the education system.

Damian Hinds: No one said, "Make my longer school day".

Chair : Oh be quiet, punk. Thank you very much indeed for coming along this morning, especially as I know you are not in the best of health today.

Prepared 7th November 2011