Ofsted gains 3 new non-executive directors

An academy director, retired college principal and business leader have been appointed as new non-executives for Ofsted.

The new board members, who will serve the education watchdog for three years, are Richard Atkins, former president of the Association of Colleges, John Cridland, former director general of the Confederation of British Industry and Venessa Willms, current director of primary at Ark.

Desirable criteria of applicants for the positions, who are paid more than £8,000 per year based on 20 days’ work, were early years or further education experience.

Morgan, the education secretary, said the new trio will use their “wide-ranging experience to further improve education and care for young people”.

She said Atkins has vast experience of the further education sector having recently retired from his position as principal of Exeter College, and previously leading Yeovil College.

Cridland, who is also chair of transport for the north, is a former UK commissioner for employment and skills.

Willms has responsibility for 23 schools across four different regions in her position at Ark – the same academy trust which the government’s chosen new Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman helped set up and advise.

Willms was also formerly principal at King Solomon Academy in London.

They will join Linda Farrant, John Hughes, James Kempton, Paul Snell and current chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw on the board, which is chaired by David Hoare.

The new additions, Hoare said, offer “a broad range of skills and experience” and will ensure the board “better reflects each of the different remits of Ofsted”.

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