FE chief at the exams regulator steps down as new wave of reform begins

The man in charge of Ofqual’s vocational arm, Jeremy Benson, has decided to leave the exams regulator after nearly six years, in light of the recent skills plan.

Mr Benson, who joined Ofqual in 2010 as director of strategic management and then became executive director for vocational qualifications in 2014, said he is moving on as one phase of reform concludes and another begins.

It follows the announcement of the government’s vision for technical education in the recent skills plan, which will see a radical overhaul of the post-16 vocational qualification system by replacing 20,000 courses with “15 high-quality routes”, based on the recommendations of Lord Sainsbury’s independent panel, and the creation of the institute for apprenticeships.

Phil Beach, Ofqual’s director of strategic relationships for general qualifications, has today been appointed interim executive director and will take on Mr Benson’s responsibilities until a permanent replacement has been found.

Phil Beach

Sally Collier, who was appointed as Ofqual’s new chief regulator in March, said: “I would like to thank Jeremy for the significant contribution he has made to establishing Ofqual and the groundwork done in preparation for the important reforms being made by government to the vocational qualifications landscape and our role in regulating it.

“We all wish him well for the future.

“We have begun the process of identifying a replacement. In the interim, Phil Beach, director of strategic relationships, will lead our vocational qualifications directorate.”

Mr Benson, who previously held roles in qualifications policy at the Department for Education and City & Guilds, is now weighing up his options and taking some personal time before deciding on his next step.

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