Former exams firm boss set to be new Ofqual chief

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A former exams company chief executive is set to replace Dame Glenys Stacey as the chief regulator at Ofqual, FE Week understands.

Simon Lebus is being lined up to take over the top position at the exams regulator as Stacey’s interim period comes to end on December 31.

Lebus served as the group chief executive at Cambridge Assessment, which runs exam board OCR, for 15 years before leaving in 2018.

FE Week understands the appointment is set to be another interim role, though, and has yet to be fully ratified.

Stacey, who previously served as chief regulator from 2011 to 2016, took up the role in August after Sally Collier left following the exams fiasco.

It was announced this week that she is the preferred candidate for chair of the Office for Environmental Protection.

Asked by the education select committee on Tuesday what advice she would give her successor, Stacey said they should make sure they’ve “got the stamina for it” and should “really get into the technical detail”.

She urged the successor to “learn from 2020”, adding: “For example, I don’t think Ofqual was particularly visible in 2020. It had a rather established way of sort of communicating.

“We need to be much more visible and much more interested in listening to others’ ideas and working them through with them… they may be valuable, they may not… but really listening and engaging.”

Lebus was said to have driven Cambridge Assessment through “major organisational and industry change”, including technology advances such as the introduction of on-screen marking and computer-based testing.

His roles since include becoming a non-executive chairman at Sparx, an AI online platform for secondary school maths teaching, and a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, according to his LinkedIn page.

The decision to make another interim appointment is likely to be controversial, particularly given the huge task ahead of ensuring next year’s exam series doesn’t become another fiasco.

The Department for Education said a replacement for Stacey will be announced in due course.



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