Academy boss Jo Saxton appointed policy adviser to Gavin Williamson

The chief executive of the Turner Schools academy trust has been appointed as an adviser to the education secretary.

Dr Jo Saxton will advise Gavin Williamson and Baroness Berridge, the academies minister, on policy issues, according to the trust’s website. She will be employed as a civil servant, not a special adviser.

Saxton established Turner Schools, which now runs four schools in Kent, in 2016. She was previous chief executive of Future Academies, the trust set up by former academies minister Lord Nash

She was also appointed to the advisory group of pro-academy lobbying group Parents and Teachers for Excellence in 2016 and a director of exams regulator Ofqual in 2018.

Schools Week understands Saxton has already parted ways with PTE, and will resign from her Ofqual role before taking up her DfE role.

She said it was a “huge wrench to be leaving Turner Schools”

“I have lived and breathed Team Turner for the last four years and it’s been such a privilege to serve Folkestone. It has been an honour and privilege to set up an education Trust that can and will continue to help young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed and have choices in their futures.

“I am proud of what we have achieved so far, and have absolutely every confidence that Turner Schools is going to go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Saxton recently spoke to Schools Week about Turner’s experience in taking on schools run by the collapsed Lilac Sky academy trust, which shut in 2017 amid a probe into allegations of financial malpractice.