Politics

Familiar face returns to DfE schools adviser role

Teacher training reforms architect back at the DfE after eight-month stint at University of Exeter

Teacher training reforms architect back at the DfE after eight-month stint at University of Exeter

Exclusive

Will Bickford Smith, a key architect of the government’s teacher training reforms, has returned to the Department for Education eight months after leaving for a university job.

The Teach First alumnus and founder of Conservative Teachers is once again a schools policy adviser to education secretary Gillian Keegan, leading on school standards, teaching and the curriculum.

Bickford Smith left the role at the end of September last year after around three years in post to become an adviser to the vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter.

His re-appointment to the non-political civil service role follows the departure of several of Keegan’s key advisers.

Schools Week reported earlier this month that three senior policy advisers – Dr Tim Leunig, David Thomas and Patrick Spencer – had either left or announced plans to leave in the space of a few weeks.

Bickford Smith was, along with current DfE special adviser Rory Gribbell, one of the key architects of the government’s teacher training reforms.

He told Schools Week last year there was a “really good story to tell” about the government’s progress.

But forcing all ITT providers to re-apply for accreditation has sparked a backlash, with some top-rated providers snubbed and fears it will exacerbate recruitment woes.

Upon leaving the DfE last September, Bickford Smith also joined the board of Teach First. However, records show he stood down earlier this month.

His schools policy adviser role, which had remained empty since October, is different to the senior policy adviser job vacated by David Thomas earlier this month. Schools Week understands that role is yet to be filled.

The DfE and Bickford Smith declined to comment.

Latest education roles from

Chief People Officer

Chief People Officer

Inspiring Futures Through Learning

Work Experience Officer

Work Experience Officer

South Staffordshire College

Teacher of Science

Teacher of Science

Satis Education

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Chief Executive Officer Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT)

Chief Executive Officer Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT)

Satis Education

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Ark Greenwich Free School

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspire creativity in your classroom. Sky Arts’ Access All Arts week is back!

Now in its third year, Access All Arts week is a nationwide celebration of creativity for primary schools (17-21...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Unleash the Power of Sport in your setting this summer! National School Sports Week is back!

Unleash the Power of Sport this summer with National School Sports Week powered by Monster Kickabout! From 17-23 June,...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

Politics

Robert Halfon resigns as skills minister

Former education committee chair will also stand down as an MP at the election

Billy Camden
Politics

Ark stands by chair Sir Paul Marshall over social media activity

The Conservative donor has been accused of liking and sharing extremist posts

Freddie Whittaker
Politics

Phillipson invokes zeal of Gove reforms in Labour schools vision

Former minister brought 'energy and drive and determination' that is required again, says shadow education secretary

Samantha Booth
Politics

Government ‘not governing’ as schools policies in limbo

Schools Week analysis finds at least 21 policies promised for this year have yet to materialise

Samantha Booth

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments

  1. John Davies

    I can’t wait for Will Bickford -Smith to show experienced teachers how to teach. I note that he went from the Civil Service to Exeter university and then back to the Civil Service.
    No mention of his standing in front of a class of 30 + pupils but he does have the neck to tell teachers how to teach!