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Her Majesty’s Inspector and Regulatory Inspector HMI, Ofsted inspector

Ofsted inspectors visit, inspect and report on the quality of places of education and learning, and children’s services.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £43,500 to £71,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • a degree and a professional qualification in a subject like education, childcare or social work
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to inspect schools
  • a track record of improving standards and services 
  • up-to-date knowledge of the job, including recent developments and statutory requirements

For the role of HMI, you’ll also need at least 5 years’ experience of leadership in a relevant job like head teacher or senior manager in children’s services.

There are also nationality requirements and you’ll need a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Ofsted has more details about this role.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • observation and interviewing skills
  • the ability to gather and analyse evidence
  • the ability to make fair and firm judgements
  • teamwork and leadership skills
  • organisational ability to work to tight deadlines
  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • IT skills including data analysis and presentation

3. What you'll do

You'll be employed directly by Ofsted as an HMI or Regulatory Inspector. You could also work as an Ofsted Inspector (OI) on contract to Ofsted. OIs don’t carry out regulatory work or the full role of an HMI.

As an HMI, you’ll take lead inspector and team inspector roles. You’ll work in one or more of these areas:

  • schools
  • further education and skills
  • children and families services
  • early years and childcare

Ofsted also employs Regulatory Inspectors across early years and children’s social care services. They check that people, premises and services are suitable to care for children and vulnerable young people.

In all roles you’ll be:

  • getting ready for inspections by reading briefings
  • talking to staff about previous development plans and progress made
  • finding out the views of other professionals, children and parents
  • observing and rating teaching or care provision against national standards
  • checking the welfare and development of the children
  • recording what you see and hear
  • giving information and evidence to team meetings
  • producing detailed written reports
  • giving feedback to the education or children’s service provider

4. Salary

Starter: variable

Experienced: variable

Regulatory Inspectors earn between £43,500 and £48,500.

Her Majesty's Inspectors earn between £66,000 and £71,000.

Ofsted also use freelance inspectors, who are paid a day rate of £335 or more, depending on their role.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will vary, especially during inspections when you may have to work late. You’ll usually be based at home, and you’ll travel to inspections. You may have to spend at least one night away from home during an inspection.

You'll find it useful to have a driving licence and use of a vehicle.

6. Career path and progression

You’ll be recruited and trained by Ofsted.

With experience as an HMI, you could become a Senior HMI or Regional Director. Regulatory Inspectors may also progress to become Regulatory Inspection Managers or HMI.

From an OI role, you may be able to become an HMI.

You could also use your knowledge and experience to move into a senior role within your own area of work.

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Last updated: 13 September 2017