Education and Training Foundation boss stands down

The Education and Training Foundation has announced that David Russell has left the organisation.

The Education and Training Foundation has announced that David Russell has left the organisation.

David Russell has left his role as chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). 

The ETF has announced that its deputy chief executive, Jenny Jarvis, has today become interim chief executive. The ETF’s board will recruit for a permanent chief executive later this year. 

The organisation has said that Russell’s “decision to move on has been carefully planned and co-ordinated with the board, with a smooth transition in place for his replacement.” 

He will be supporting handover activity with Jarvis for the next month, FE Week understands, and begins his new role as executive in residence at the Oxford Saïd Business School in May.

Russell was appointed to the ETF CEO role in October 2013. Over that time, the charity has grown from an annual budget of around £19 million in 2013/14 to just under £38 million in 2020/21. 

Part of that growth has been the formation of the Society for Education and Training (SET), a professional body for teachers and trainers that sits within ETF’s structures. The SET was formed following the demise of the Institute for Learning in 2015 and now has over 22,000 members.

The foundation’s roster of training and development programmes for leaders and practitioners has also grown under Russell’s leadership, including its taking teaching further programme and training routes for T level delivery staff, aspiring sector chief executives and governance professionals.

According to the ETF, over 180 principals and chief executives have taken part in its subsidised strategic leadership programme, delivered with the Saïd Business School.

In his time as CEO, Russell has been outspoken on a number of strategic issues for the sector. In an interview with FE Week in 2019, he warned that the sector was on the brink of a “crisis” in leadership because of a lack of investment.

More recently, he has manoeuvred the organisation to play a more active role in diversity and inclusion and leading on the sector’s efforts around sustainability.  

News of Russell’s departure as CEO comes just over a week after the ETF announced that the DfE was cutting its grant programme by just over £3 million.

Because of this several its popular programmes came to an end on March 31, including its practitioner research programme and its outstanding teaching, learning and assessment programme. The DfE told FE Week at the time that it will conduct a “competitive process” for new programmes this year.

Peter Latchford, chair of the ETF board, said that Russell’s “skilled and principled leadership over the past eight year has enabled ETF to grow to become a highly respected and integral part of the FE system. We wish David every success in his career next steps.”

Russell has said “It has been an amazing privilege to lead the ETF for the last eight years. I passionately believe that the thing that makes the most difference to the quality and outcomes of education is the training and support that teachers and trainers receive.  I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved at the ETF with the unstinting support of the AoC, the DfE and other partners and collaborators around the system.”

“The FE system is at its best when it works together for the benefit of all learners.  It changes lives, and I am grateful to have played a small part in helping teachers and leaders in our amazing sector be all they can be and flourish in their professional journeys.”

Provider leaders have offered praise for Russell’s tenure as the ETF’s leader.

David Hughes, the Association of Colleges CEO and chair of the steering group which set up the ETF, said Russell “leaves the organisation in good health and at a time when we need colleges and providers to work even more closely together to attract, train, develop and retain the expert and professional staff needed to support the best training, skills and education. I want to thank David for the work he has done and wish him well for the future.”

And Jane Hickie, chief executive at AELP, described Russell as “a champion of workforce development in further education.”

“On behalf of AELP, I would like to thank David for his hard work over the years and wish him the very best in his new role. I also look forward to working closely with Jenny Jarvis. Independent training providers play a crucial role in delivering training, and I hope that is reflected in support offered for our members”.

Jenny Jarvis

Jenny Jarvis leads ETF from today as interim chief executive. 

She joined ETF in September 2017 as chief operation officer before becoming its deputy chief executive in April 2020. Prior to joining ETF, Jarvis was managing director at Rehab Jobfit, a training and employability service, and spent 11 years at Reed in Partnership where she become director of supply chain management.

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  1. Several years ago I was accepted as a Technical Expert Panel member for the ETF, but as soon as it was clear that I wanted to breakdown the current educational leadership structure and ‘build back better’ with a new paradigm which would certainly benefit all our children and young people, the ETF was ‘restructured’ and I wasn’t invited back.