DfE top boss Jonathan Slater to leave

The Department for Education’s permanent secretary Jonathan Slater is to be replaced, the government has announced.

The Financial Times reported earlier today that Slater, the top civil servant at the department will leave the post amid the fallout over exams and rules over masks in schools.

Now the DfE and Cabinet Office have confirmed he will leave on September 1.

“The prime minister has concluded that there is a need for fresh official leadership at the Department for Education. Jonathan Slater has therefore agreed that he will stand down on September 1, in advance of the end of his tenure in Spring 2021,” a spokesperson said.

Susan Acland-Hood, the chief executive of the HM Courts & Tribunals Service who was recently seconded to the DfE as interim second permanent secretary, will take over from Slater as acting permanent secretary, and a permanent successor will be appointed “in the coming weeks”.

“The cabinet secretary would like to put on record his thanks to Jonathan for 35 years of public service, culminating in over four years as permanent secretary of the Department for Education,” said a spokesperson.

Slater has been in post since May 2016, when he replaced Chris Wormald. Before that he served as director of the prime minister’s delivery unit, chief executive of the office for criminal justice reform and in a number of director-general roles in other departments.

He is perhaps best-known in the FE sector for his attempt to delay the implementation of T-levels back in 2018. Damian Hinds, the education secretary at the time, had to issue a ministerial direction to continue with his plans.

It follows the announcement yesterday that Sally Collier, the head of exams regulator Ofqual, is to leave her post in the wake of the exams fiasco. She will be replaced on an interim basis by Dame Glenys Stacey, her predecessor in the role.