1 Feb 2014

Ofsted chief hits out at Tory appointments

Baroness Morgan, the chair of education watchdog Ofsted, accuses the Conservative party of packing public bodies with party supporters after being forced out by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Michael Gove has ousted Baroness Morgan from her chairmanship of Ofsted

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, the chair of schools regulator Ofsted, has accused the Conservative party of placing party supporters in crucial public body posts.

The Labour peer has been told by Education Secretary Michael Gove that she will not be given a second three-year appointment after her current term expires this month, and accused the Conservative party of excluding non-supporters from public body jobs.

“I am the latest of a fairly long list of people now who are non-Conservative supporters who are not being re-appointed. I think there is absolutely a pattern, it’s extremely worrying,” she said.

Lady Morgan is seen as a strong supporter of Mr Gove’s free schools and academies programmes, and she said she had not fallen out with him, but suggested that Downing Street was behind the appointment’s push.

“I think there is an absolutely determined effort from No 10 that Conservative supporters will be appointed to public bodies,” she said.

“It has been a quiet, quiet drip. I’m not talking about Labour people being replaced, I’m talking about non-Conservative supporters being replaced by Conservative supporters.

“One of the really important things about public appointments is that they are made on the basis of merit and they are seen to be transparently made. I think there is something going on in the centre that’s mitigating against that.”

The Education Secretary paid tribute to Lady Morgan’s “tremendous contribution” to the work of Ofsted. She is expected to continue in the role until the autumn when a successor is found.

Mr Gove said: “She has brought great knowledge and insight, leading the board strongly through a period of significant change, both managing the smooth transition when there were changes in chief inspector, and leading the reforms to the inspectorate and its work.”