Sally Collier to be replaced by Dame Glenys Stacey as Ofqual chief regulator

The chief regulator of Ofqual Sally Collier is to leave following the exams fiasco that has engulfed England in recent weeks and be replaced by her predecessor, Schools Week has learned.

Dame Glenys Stacey, who served in the role from 2011 to 2016, will take up the role again in an acting capacity until December, with support and oversight from Ofsted chief inspector and former Ofqual chair Amanda Spielman.

Collier’s departure after four years in the role follows widespread criticism of the way government and Ofqual have handled this year’s exams, which saw GCSEs and A-levels replaced with a system of centre-assessment grades standardised by exam boards.

The change is due to be announced this afternoon as part of a raft of measures aimed at addressing the exams crisis and concerns about the capacity of the regulator to deal with the fallout.

Spielman will also be drafted in to provide oversight as chair of a new committee, although she will not take over from Roger Taylor as chair of the board. Ofsted staff may also be used to provide support.

Stacey centre right with Spielman centre left in 2012

In a statement issued this afternoon, Ofqual said the “temporary support arrangements” with Ofsted would “support the ongoing work on this summer’s GCSE, A level and vocational qualifications, including appeals and autumn exams, and preparations for next year’s exam season”.

“The chief regulator, Sally Collier, has decided that the next stage of the awarding process would be better overseen by new leadership. The Ofqual board supports Sally in this decision, and thanks her for her leadership and service over the past four years, which has included overseeing the successful introduction of an entirely new set of GCSEs and A levels, and a new grading system.

“As a result, the Ofqual Board has asked Dame Glenys Stacey to assume a temporary leadership role as acting chief regulator until December 2020, having previously served as chief regulator between 2011 and 2016. She will be supported by a new committee of the Ofqual Board, which will include one or more of the current Ofsted Board members. This new committee will be chaired by Amanda Spielman and will oversee the work of Ofqual to the end of the year. Roger Taylor remains Ofqual Chair.”

The regulator also confirmed that if required, Ofsted will also “provide additional staff to support Ofqual during the autumn, as they have been supporting other government departments through the summer”.

“Taken together these arrangements will ensure that Ofqual has the extra capacity, support and oversight it needs both to tackle the remaining issues from this year’s awarding process and to ensure that next year’s arrangements command public confidence.”

Ministers were forced to U-turn last week and issue pupils with their centre-assessment grades, amid widespread disappointment with calculated grades issued by exam boards and warnings that some groups of pupils were more likely to have been downgraded than others.

The changes at Ofqual follow reports that education secretary Gavin Williamson was trying to lay the blame for this year’s fiasco with the regulator.

The Department for Education was forced to issue a statement last week stating it had “full confidence” in Ofqual, just days after Williamson refused to say so himself.

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