Exams

Ofqual set to have interim boss for a year

Temporary chief regulator to be appointed on 'exceptional basis' to deal with 'challenging period' ahead

Temporary chief regulator to be appointed on 'exceptional basis' to deal with 'challenging period' ahead

Ofqual's director for standards Cath Jadhav will move to Pearson to become the exam board's responsible officer

Ofqual’s interim top boss will be in post for a year after Dr Jo Saxton leaves in December for the University and Colleges Admission Service.

Saxton is joining UCAS after just two years at the regulator. 

In a letter to the education committee, published this week, Gillian Keegan said she intended to appoint an interim chief regulator on an “exceptional basis” for 12 months from January.

Keegan said this “takes account of the challenge of recruiting an experience suitable candidate to such a high profile and a challenging role on a short-term basis”. 

She intends to carry out a full, public appointments process for a permanent successor as soon as possible. 

Ofqual will have had five chief regulators in four years, including two other interims.

Sally Collier resigned in August 2020 over that year’s grading fiasco. She was replaced on an interim basis by Dame Glenys Stacey, who was also her predecessor.

Simon Lebus replaced Stacey, again on an interim basis, in January 2021, and then Saxton took over in September of that year.

Keegan also asked the committee of cross-party MPs how it “would like to engage” with appointing the interim official.

Permanent appointees are quizzed by the MPs in pre-appointment hearings.

Keegan said Saxton’s leadership has been “invaluable in stabilising Ofqual following a challenging few years”, but the next 12 months “will be a challenging period … which will require continuity and stability of leadership”. 

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