He lives in the east London borough and his new job - advertised at Pounds 120,000 a year - will return him to the authority where he began his teaching career.
Mr Collins spent three years at Malmesbury primary in Mile End before teaching in Mozambique for a year. When he returned to England he went to Bradford and rose from a first school teacher to senior adviser on language and literacy for Education Bradford.
In 1998 he became London's literacy strategy director and five years later he was made head of the Primary National Strategy having previously been deputy director of the National Literacy Strategy. His appointment to the Pounds 80,000-a-year post was widely welcomed.
During his tenure, the strategy published a document called Excellence and Enjoyment, which urged schools to broaden their curriculum and led to the softening of key stage 1 tests and a ban on authorities pressurising schools over their key stage 2 targets.
Mr Collins is moving to an authority where children's services have already impressed inspectors by the quality of leadership and management at all levels of the department. Schools inspectorate Ofsted also commented on the "enthusiasm and high level of morale of the workforce".
Mr Collins said: "It is a fantastic honour to join such an impressive local authority as the new children's agenda is being developed.
"I am sure the national strategies will continue to support schools and settings to raise standards for all children."
He is continuing to work as a consultant in America on a project to improve the literacy of children living in povertywith the New York institute of special education and Pennsylvania university in Philadelphia .
* The running of the primary and secondary, formerly key stage 3, strategies were handed over to Capita from CfBT in April. The new chief executive of the strategies is Mark Pattison, who had been managing director of Education Bradford for the past three years.