Mary Curnock Cook to stand down as Ucas chief

The head of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service will leave in April next year

Eleanor Busby

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The chief executive of the admission body for universities has announced today that she will stand down after seven years in the role.

Ms Curnock Cook, who took over in January 2010, has led the organisation through one of the greatest periods of change in the UK higher education sector.

Under her guidance, Ucas has transformed into a digital service, handling more than 4 million applications each year and helping about 600,000 people to secure degree, postgraduate or teacher training places.

Ms Curnock Cook said: “Our unique centralised service means that the UK has the fairest and most transparent HE admissions system in the world.

"It has been an immense privilege to have been able to build on the extraordinary vision of the vice-chancellors of the early 1960s who saw the benefits of a single application process for students and universities.”

Sir Steve Smith, chair of Ucas and vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “She has been an exceptional chief executive, and it is going to be very difficult to replace her.

“She goes with our sincere best wishes and our profound thanks for all that she has done to enhance our outstanding admissions service for students and universities.”

Ms Curnock Cook is yet to announce her plans for what she will do after she leaves in April 2017. 

Ucas has announced that the search for her successor will begin shortly.

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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