Ofsted national education director Sean Harford to take early retirement

Chris Russell Sean Harford Ofsted

Ofsted’s national director of education Sean Harford is to stand down from his role to take early retirement, the watchdog has announced.

Harford has worked at Ofsted since 2003, initially as a Her Majesty’s Inspector and then in a number of management roles. He has been in his current role since 2015, and was national director of schools beforehand.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said Harford had “decided to retire early and will leave Ofsted on August 31 this year”.

“Over the past 18 years, Sean has made an enormous contribution to Ofsted and the education sector, and his intellect, challenge and wit will be greatly missed. We wish him well with the list of exciting things he has planned to keep him busy in future.”

A new national director will be appointed “in the coming weeks”.

Harford returned to work at Ofsted at the beginning of this year following a secondment to the Cabinet Office to assist with the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before joining Ofsted, Harford was head of science and then assistant headteacher at Linton Village College in Cambridgeshire.

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