Richard Atkins appointed FE commissioner

The former Exeter College principal will take over from Sir David Collins

Julia Belgutay

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Richard Atkins has been confirmed as the new further education commissioner.

The former principal of Exeter and Yeovil colleges, past Association of Colleges (AoC) president and current chair of AoC Sport will take over from Sir David Collins when he retires in November, the Department for Education has announced. Under his leadership, Exeter College was named college of the year in the TES FE Awards 2012. He is also a former judge for the awards.

The government has also appointed Steve Hutchinson, Cindy Rampersaud and Andrew Tyley as deputy FE commissioners, joining John Hogg and David Williams. According to the DfE, Marilyn Hawkins has confirmed that she will step down as deputy commissioner after leading the completion of the area review process in London.

However Mr Atkins has stepped down from his role on the board of Ofsted "to avoid any potential conflict of interest with his new role".

An Ofsted spokesperson said: "We can confirm that Richard Atkins has resigned from the Ofsted board as a non-executive director, with immediate effect, in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest with his new role as FE commissioner.

"On behalf of the Ofsted chair, other members of the board, and the entire organisation, we would like to congratulate Richard on his appointment and wish him every success in the future."

The FE commissioner not only heads the area review programme, but also leads the commissioner intervention process to drive improvement in colleges. This includes cases where colleges fail an Ofsted inspection, or are found to be financially inadequate.

Skills minister Robert Halfon said Mr Atkins had demonstrated that he was an exceptional leader in his previous roles at Exeter and Yeovil colleges.

"I am confident that he will use his skills to improve delivery and unlock opportunities for learners across the country to go further in learning and their careers," Mr Halfon added.

Mr Atkins said: "I am delighted and honoured to take on this key role in the further education colleges sector. I am keen to build on the work that Sir David Collins and his team have begun over the past two years, and to work with colleagues in colleges to develop a high-quality and financially sustainable network of colleges across England which provide the very best technical and professional education for learners, employers and local communities."

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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