New Ofqual chief vows to act in pupils' best interests

Jo Saxton, the new Ofqual chief regulator, says students will be at the 'heart of every decision we make'

Catherine Lough

Dr Jo Saxton

The new Ofqual chief regulator has vowed to prioritise pupils' "best interests" as she starts work in the post this week.

Jo Saxton, a former Ofqual board member and education policy adviser to Gavin Williamson, took up the helm on 18 September following the departure of interim chief regulator Simon Lebus.

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Dr Saxton also previously worked as chief executive of Turner Schools multi-academy trust in Kent.

“I believe in the power of education to transform life chances, which is why I’m so passionate about qualifications," Dr Saxton said.

Jo Saxton 'will provide insightful leadership to Ofqual'

“As chief regulator, pupils and students will be at the heart of every decision we make at Ofqual: their best interests will be my compass.

“The Ofqual kitemark gives confidence to learners choosing their next step and to employers making recruitment decisions.

“I am looking forward to building on the work of my predecessor, Simon Lebus, and the team at Ofqual.”

Dr Saxton had worked during the pandemic "on a range of policies from academies and regulation through to qualifications and the establishment of Oak National Academy", an Ofqual statement said.

Interim Ofqual chair Ian Bauckham added: “I’m thrilled to welcome Dr Saxton to Ofqual, as we settle into a new academic year.

“As a former educator and Ofqual board member, I have no doubt that she will provide insightful leadership to Ofqual.”

Mr Lebus replaced Dame Glenys Stacey as interim chief regulator on 1 January this year, just three days prior to prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that public exams would be cancelled for the second year in a row.

He oversaw the awarding of teacher-assessed GCSE and A-level grades – whereby teachers awarded grades based on assessments such as coursework and mock exams.

Prior to the release of results in August, he described TAGs as being a "much more accurate" reflection of what students are capable of than exams during a pandemic year.

Exams are expected to go ahead in 2022, with Ofqual due to release final guidance of how assessment will work by the end of this month, following a consultation on the issue.

Likely adaptations to mitigate learning loss could include advance notice of topics as well as more choice of topic for some subjects such as English literature.


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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