Theodore Agnew, chairman of Norfolk academy group the Inspiration Trust, linked to top job at Ofsted

Theodore Agnew, chairman of the Inspiration Trust, attacks a wall with a sledgehammer at the start construction work for the Sir Isaac Newton Free School in Norwich in July 2013. Picture: Denise Bradley Theodore Agnew, chairman of the Inspiration Trust, attacks a wall with a sledgehammer at the start construction work for the Sir Isaac Newton Free School in Norwich in July 2013. Picture: Denise Bradley

Monday, February 3, 2014
8:43 AM

The chairman of a Norfolk academy trust which sponsors seven schools in the county is reported to be in the running to become the next chairman of the school inspectorate Ofsted.

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Businessman Theodore Agnew at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy.

Picture: James BassBusinessman Theodore Agnew at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy. Picture: James Bass

Theodore Agnew, whose Inspiration Trust includes the Thetford, Hethersett and Cromer Academies and two Norwich free schools, has been named in connection with the job after the government controversially decided not to reappoint Labour peer Baroness Morgan.

Mr Agnew is a Conservative party donor and insurance magnate who is currently chairman of the Department for Education’s Academies Board.

EDP profile of Theodore Agnew: From 11-plus misery and brothel cleaning to business success and a top job at Department for Education

The Inspiration Trust

Education secretary Michael Gove was questioned about Westminster rumours linking Mr Agnew to the Ofsted job on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 this morning.

He said the appointment would be made on merit and that it would be “quite wrong” to rule out a suitable candidate simply because he was a Conservative.

“I want to make sure that we have the widest range of candidates and I don’t think anyone should be ruled out on the basis of their political allegiance,” he said.

“If someone is a distinguished former Labour minister and they want to put their hat in the ring, then I would look favourably on that. If there’s a distinguished Liberal Democrat educationalist, great. If there’s someone who’s a Conservative, why should they be ruled out just because they are a Conservative? I think that would be quite wrong.”

The decision to replace Baroness Morgan led to a coalition row between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

A senior Lib Dem source made clear that they would resist any attempt to appoint Mr Agnew, who is a trustee of the Policy Exchange think tank which Mr Gove helped establish in her place.

“Education policy is far more important than rewarding a few Tory cronies. The Lib Dems will not let our children’s education be dictated by some Tory donor ideologue,” the source said.

16 comments

  • More schools will be deemed to be inadequate so they can be handed over to Gove's friends to play with. But does it work? Ask the students of City Academy and Wayland Academy now suffering under the TEN crowd.

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    Johnboy

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • and this wouldn't be a conflict of interest? Investigation please EDP, not your usual puff pieces about education.

    Report this comment

    JP Ringer

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • The LA remains responsible for the pupils and the debts for ALL schools whether academy, LA or Free sch.....ludicrous and unfair but this is politics.

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    Sportswagon

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • With a portfolio of cleaning brothels, this rumoured latest replacement of an able woman by a man, he might just have that traditional know how Mr. Gove envisages for our academies. But is this exercise in gender dis-balance the right step to take before the District and European elections in May, not to speak of the next GE.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • I hear Hewitt School is 600k in debt. They are not allowed to borrow money, and NCC is not so keen these days to bail out overspending schools. An academy network might want it, but of course a school carrying a big debt is not quite such an attractive addition to an academy network.....so might it close?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • And if it closes, I doubt if the school governors will pay the debts out of their own pockets (which in theory they should), it wall fall on good old NCC. This is one advantage to academies, if they fall into debt, it is their problem not the councils.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Poor old Gove....so desperate to force academies on us all that he has to shoe horn Agnew into this position of power which further weakens Ofsted and highlights how politicised it now is. As they say what goes rnd comes rnd.......let's hope so before too much damage is done.

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    Sportswagon

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Hewett School

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • I suppose both David Prior and Tory-loving Rachel De Souza were out of the frame after getting the CQC and an Honour.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • There will be a conflict of interests here and the state funded school sector will be at a decided disadvantage because there will be pressure from this man to turn supposed 'failing' schools into academies - profit before education - that's about it!

    Report this comment

    Tractorboy

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Unfortunately Frodo the LA remains responsible for the pupils and a school's debts whether maintained, academy or free sch.....hence my constant shouting out about how wrong this all is!!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Maybe he will take RDS with him. Could be the best news for Norfolk in a long time.

    Report this comment

    TheTruth

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Well Mr Agnew is also a failed Borough Council candidate for the Tories losing in Caister South some years ago!

    Report this comment

    Lord

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • That says it all a ''Tory Party donor''. Sleaze, brown envelopes, fiddling expenses and jobs for the boys, the Tories are corrupt and shameless. .

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Well well, who's got a lotta jobs and enough collateral to finance the next GE then? Theodore Agnew DL is a Norfolk businessman and philanthropist. After working in Australia, he founded Town & Country Assistance in 1989 and grew the business to annual gross revenues of £40 million pa. Selling it to Warburg Pincus in 2002, he became co-founder of WNS Global Services. He is currently a non-executive director of Jubilee Managing Agency Ltd, a Lloyd’s insurance business managing £130 million of premiums. He is a Trustee of Policy Exchange,[2] a Westminster-based think tank, and Chairman of the Norfolk Community Foundation.[3] Agnew is the Non-Executive Director of the Department for Education and Chairman of the Academies Board [4] responsible for oversight of the Academies programme in England and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk in 2013.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Ofsted is supposed to be independent so how could there not be a conflict of interest if he, a Tory party donor, not to mention a major player in the academy system, is appointed? The politicisation of education is a disgrace. It would be interesting to see what happens in Norfolk if he got the job.

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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