Frequently asked questions*

You can find the answers to our most commonly asked questions for each area below:

Social Care

Q. What is the required level of leadership experience?
A. At HMI level, we are looking for people with at least five years' leadership experience at a senior level, normally that would be as an Assistant Director, Head of Service or other leadership position. We do however consider applications from service managers and team managers where there is evidence of exceptional performance. For Regulatory Inspectors and Regulatory Inspector Managers different levels of leadership experience are required, these are detailed in the job specifications.

Q. Why is leadership experience essential to the role?
A. To be effective and credible in challenging senior leaders, you must be able to draw on your own experiences of leading good and outstanding provision.

Q. Why is a social work qualification essential to the role?
A. To correctly assess and make recommendations, you'll need to draw on both your theoretical and practical understanding of social work.

Q. Does my qualification count as a recognised professional social work qualification?
A. If you registered with the General Social Care Council (now replaced by the Health and Care Professions Council) then it is likely that you hold a recognised social work qualification. You can seek clarification from the Health and Care Professions Council.

Q. What is a National Lead responsibility?
A. National Lead is a specialist role in a particular field (e.g. child protection, family justice) that is undertaken alongside the other duties of the HMI role. Only a select number of HMI will hold National Lead roles. These roles will be periodically open to applications from all HMI.

Q. What are the working hours of an HMI?
A. This is a full-time position, working 36 hours per week. Unpaid additional hours may occasionally be required.

Q. I am not used to working from home. How will this work in practice?
A. Ofsted is highly experienced in facilitating effective home working and makes full use of technology to ensure that teams are well connected. This includes provision for telephone and video conferencing, online seminars and mobile working, e.g. smart phones. Inspectors will also meet in person at regular intervals through inspection team meetings as well as local, regional and national events.

Q. What training would be offered to a new inspector and how long would this last?
A. Extensive training will run alongside a six-month probationary period to ensure that you are fully confident to do the job. This includes induction on corporate affairs, specialisms and inspection skills.

Q. How much travel is expected?
A. HMI are based in regions but we inspect local authorities as a national programme so you may travel and inspect any area of England.

Q. Will the role involve overnight stays?
A. You'll be required to stay overnight, away from home, for up to four nights during an inspection. On average you will have around eight nights a month away from home.

Q. Do I need to live in England?
A. You would not be ineligible to apply on the basis of your location. However, we would be unable to routinely reimburse airfare/ferry expenses incurred through travel on inspection work.

Q. What is a secondment?
A. A secondment to Ofsted as an Associate Inspector means that your employer will need to agree to release you for a period of time to work for Ofsted. This may be on a part-time or full-time basis. During your secondment you remain on your current terms and conditions and remain an employee of your current employer. Ofsted will then reimburse them for your employment costs during the periods you work for Ofsted.

Q. I am interested in a secondment. How do I find out more?
A. If you are a successful leader, an Associate Inspector secondment is a great way to support improvement across the sector and to enhance your future career prospects. Secondments may be agreed on a part-time or full-time basis. If you are interested in a secondment please record this via the 'Register your interest' page.

Education (including Early Education)

Q. What is the required level of leadership experience?
A. We are looking for people with at least five years' leadership experience at a senior level, whether that's as a headteacher, deputy head, assistant head or in another school leadership position. A track record of assessing poor performance and providing constructive support and guidance from a practitioner's perspective is essential.

Q. Why is leadership experience essential to the role?
A. To be effective and credible in challenging educational leaders, you must be able to draw on your own experiences of leading good and outstanding provision.

Q. Why is a teaching qualification essential to the role?
A. To correctly assess and make recommendations, you'll need to possess a well rounded view of all facets of teaching practice.

Q. What is a National Lead responsibility?
A. National Lead is a specialist role in a particular field (e.g. English, mathematics) that is undertaken alongside the other duties of the HMI role. Only a select number of HMI will hold National Lead roles; these roles will be periodically open to applications from all HMI.

Q. What are the working hours of an HMI?
A. This is a full-time position, working 36 hours per week. Unpaid additional hours may occasionally be required.

Q. I am not used to working from home. How will this work in practice?
A. Ofsted is highly experienced in facilitating effective home working and makes full use of technology to ensure that teams are well connected. This includes provision for telephone and video conferencing, online seminars and mobile working, e.g. smart phones. Inspectors will also meet in person at regular intervals through inspection team meetings as well as local, regional and national events.

Q. What training would be offered to a new inspector and how long would this last?
A. Extensive training will run alongside a six-month probationary period to ensure that you are fully confident to do the job. This includes induction on corporate affairs, specialisms and inspection skills. All training programmes are tailored based on your existing skills and experience.

Q. How many inspections would an HMI undertake in a month?
A. There is no set number. However, on average, you can expect to be involved in inspection activity three weeks out of every four.

Q. How much travel is expected?
A. HMI are based in regions and so travel is mostly in, or between, neighbouring regions - although we may ask you to travel further in exceptional circumstances, such as national meetings or conferences.

Q. Will the role involve overnight stays?
A. You'll be required to stay overnight, away from home, for one or two nights during an inspection. You might also have the opportunity to deliver or be involved in seminars that may involve overnight stays.

Q. What is the difference between an Ofsted Inspector and an HMI?
A. Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) are employed by Ofsted to lead a range of inspection and improvement activity. Ofsted Inspectors are contracted by Ofsted and commonly undertake less complex inspections.

Q. Do I need to live in England?
A. You would not be ineligible to apply on the basis of your location. However, we would be unable to routinely reimburse airfare/ferry expenses incurred through travel on inspection work.

Q. I have been working abroad for some time. Would this make me ineligible to apply?
A. You would not be ineligible to apply but, in line with the person specification, we would expect you to have an in depth knowledge and experience of education in England.

Q. How will joining Ofsted affect my teacher's pension?
A. New Ofsted employees who have previously contributed to a teacher's pension can choose to freeze this and join the Civil Service Pension Scheme, or to transfer it and join our scheme. You can transfer your teacher's pension into the Civil Service Pension Scheme as long as you complete the process within the first year of joining Ofsted. You will be able to get a quote as soon as you join to see what impact there would be on your existing benefits. If you intend to return to the Teachers' Pension Scheme, you can leave your pension where it is, accrue time in the Civil Service Pension Scheme, and transfer that service back into the Teachers' Pension Scheme on your return. If you were to transfer your existing service into the Civil Service Pension Scheme, your pension age and scheme benefits would be based on the scheme that you join.

Please read more about the Civil Service Pension Scheme at: http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/members/alpha-guide/

More general detail about joining the scheme can be found at: http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/members/prospective-members-faq/

The Teachers' Pension Scheme also offers guidance on taking a break, and more information can be found at: https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/members/faqs/taking-a-break-from-teaching.aspx

Q. What is a secondment?
A. A secondment to Ofsted as an Associate Inspector means that your school will need to agree to release you for a period of time to work for Ofsted. This may be for as little as 10 days per term or may be on a full-time basis. During your secondment you remain on your current terms and conditions and remain an employee of your current school, Ofsted will then reimburse the school for your employment costs during the periods you work for Ofsted.

Q. I am interested in a secondment. How do I find out more?
A. If you are a successful school leader, an Associate Inspector secondment is a great way to support improvement across the sector and to enhance your future career prospects. Secondments generally range from 10 days per term to full-time. If you are interested in a secondment please record this via the 'Register your interest' page.

Further Education and Skills

Q. What is the required level of leadership experience?
A. We are looking for people with at least five years' leadership experience at a senior level, whether that's as a vice principal, faculty head or other leadership position. A track record of assessing poor performance and providing constructive support and guidance from a practitioner's perspective is essential.

Q. Why is leadership experience essential to the role?
A. To be effective and credible in challenging senior leaders, you must be able to draw on your own experiences of leading good and outstanding provision.

Q. What is a National Lead responsibility?
A. National Lead is a specialist role in a particular field (e.g. careers guidance, offender learning) that is undertaken alongside the other duties of the HMI role. Only a select number of HMI will hold National Lead roles; these roles will be periodically open to applications from all HMI.

Q. What are the working hours of an HMI?
A. This is a full-time position, working 36 hours per week. Unpaid additional hours may occasionally be required.

Q. I am not used to working from home. How will this work in practice?
A. Ofsted is highly experienced in facilitating effective home working and makes full use of technology to ensure that teams are well connected. This includes provision for telephone and video conferencing, online seminars and mobile working, e.g. smart phones. Inspectors will also meet in person at regular intervals through inspection team meetings as well as local, regional and national events.

Q. What training would be offered to a new inspector and how long would this last?
A. Extensive training will run alongside a six-month probationary period to ensure that you are fully confident to do the job. This includes induction on corporate affairs, specialisms and inspection skills. All training programmes are tailored based on your existing skills and experience.

Q. How much travel is expected?
A. HMI are based in regions and so travel is mostly in, or between, neighbouring regions - although we may ask you to travel further in exceptional circumstances such as national meetings or conferences.

Q. Will the role involve overnight stays?
A. You'll be required to stay overnight, away from home, for one or two nights during an inspection. You might also have the opportunity to deliver or be involved in seminars that may involve overnight stays.

Q. What is the difference between an Ofsted Inspector and an HMI?
A. Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) are employed by Ofsted to lead a range of inspection and improvement activity. Ofsted Inspectors are contracted by Ofsted and commonly undertake less complex inspections.

Q. Do I need to live in England?
A. You would not be ineligible to apply on the basis of your location. However, we would be unable to routinely reimburse airfare/ferry expenses incurred through travel on inspection work.

Q. What is a secondment?
A. A secondment to Ofsted as an Associate Inspector means that your employer will need to agree to release you for a period of time to work for Ofsted. This may be on a part-time or on a full-time basis. During your secondment you remain on your current terms and conditions and remain an employee of your current provision. Ofsted will then reimburse them for your employment costs during the periods you work for Ofsted.

Q. I am interested in a secondment. How do I find out more?
A. If you are a successful leader, an Associate Inspector secondment is a great way to support improvement across the sector and to enhance your future career prospects. Secondments may be agreed on a part-time or on a full-time basis. If you are interested in a secondment please record this via the 'Register your interest' page.