Zahawi grants new terms for deputy commissioners

The deputy commissioners work with colleges with quality or financial health concerns.

The deputy commissioners work with colleges with quality or financial health concerns.



All six deputy further education commissioners have had their terms of office extended, it has been announced. 

These posts form part of new FE commissioner (FEC) Shelagh Legrave’s team of 12 FE advisers and six deputy commissioners. 

The deputies work with colleges who have either requested support or who are in formal intervention due to concerns with poor quality of education provision or poor financial health. Each deputy is expected to undertake up to 200 days’ work per year. They are currently each remunerated at £700 per day. 

While the number of colleges in formal intervention has declined, the new commissioner wants to steer the FEC team towards a more “nurturing a supporting” relationship with colleges. 

This follows a 2019 report on the oversight of college finances which recommended that the FE commissioner and the ESFA worked closer together and improved their strategic relationships with the colleges. 

The deputy FE commissioners, who are appointed by the secretary of state, each begin their new terms of office on January 1 2022:

Frances Wadsworth has been reappointed until April 30 2023.

Wadsworth became a deputy FE commissioner in May 2018 and served as interim FE commissioner between Richard Atkins’ departure in March 2021 and Shelagh Legrave’s arrival in post in October 2021.

Alongside this role, Wadsworth sits of the board of Ofqual as its deputy chair.

Meredydd David has been reappointed to serve until August 31 2023.

David was appointed as a deputy FE commissioner in September 2018 and is a former principal of Reaseheath College. He was awarded an OBE in the 2009 birthday honours for services to further education and is also currently the vice chair of the University of Chester.

Martin Sim has been reappointed to August 31 2023.

Sim was appointed as a deputy FE commissioner by Gavin Williamson in August 2019.

Since May this year however, Sim has been working as interim chief executive at Nottingham College. John van de Laarschot stepped back from the role in order to recover from a serious heart attack. In November, the college announced that Van de Laarschot would not be returning to the college in order to focus on his health. 

It’s expected that Sim will return to his deputy commissioner duties once a permanent successor for Van de Laarschot has been appointed. The search is currently underway. 

Steve Hutchinson and Andrew Tyley, the longest serving members of the FEC team, have both been reappointed to serve until September 30 2023.

They both joined the FEC team as FE advisers in 2014 and were made deputy FE commissioners in 2016.

Nigel Duncan has had his interim deputy commissioner position extended to June 20 2022 ‘by exception’ for six months to complete ‘ongoing projects’. He was appointed for a one year term in January.



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