Ofqual reveals new interim chair

Former college principal and current Ofqual deputy chair Frances Wadsworth will step up in January

Former college principal and current Ofqual deputy chair Frances Wadsworth will step up in January

19 Dec 2023, 12:38

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The exams regulator has appointed its deputy chair to lead its board while a permanent chair is found. 

Frances Wadsworth, a former teacher and college principal, will become Ofqual’s interim chair on January 1. She will be in post for “up to 12 months” while a successor to Sir Ian Bauckham is found.

Last month it was announced that Bauckham will move from the Ofqual chair role to interim chief regulator, replacing Jo Saxton who becomes chief executive of UCAS next month. 

This leaves the permanent roles of both chair and chief regulator at Ofqual vacant. 

Wadsworth said she was “delighted to have been invited to serve as the interim chair of Ofqual, particularly at such an important time for the organisation and for the sector.”

“I know from my experience in education how important qualifications, supported by regulation, are and the impact they can have on individuals, employers and organisations,” she added. 

Wadsworth joined the board of Ofqual in April 2017. In addition to being its deputy chair, she also chairs the regulator’s audit committee. 

According to the Ofqual board’s register of interests, Wadsworth is also a lay advisor to the Thames Valley Magistracy and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

She was appointed a deputy further education commissioner in 2018 following a seven-year stint and principal and CEO of Croydon College. When the then FE commissioner, Richard Atkins, stood down in 2021, Wadsworth served as interim FE commissioner for six months until Shelagh Legrave took over. 

She was made a CBE for services to education in the Queen’s 2022 birthday honours.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “Ofqual plays an important role in ensuring our current and future qualifications work effectively, especially as we develop the new Advanced British Standard. 

“Frances brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in advancing education and I look forward to working alongside her to ensure students taking qualifications and assessments in 2024 have the best possible chance to succeed.”

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