Chief schooling civil servant Jonathan Slater sacked soon after tests row

Chief education civil servant Jonathan Slater sacked after exams row

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The main civil servant at the Division for Training has been sacked pursuing the row above A-level and GCSE final results in England.

Jonathan Slater was because of to stand down future calendar year, but will now go away the office by next week.

A authorities assertion said Boris Johnson “concluded that there is a need for refreshing formal management”.

But the civil company union accused No 10 of “discarding” its users to “continue to keep scrutiny from the government’s door”.

Mr Slater is the fifth long lasting secretary to go away his post in six months.

The information will come a working day right after the head of examination regulator Ofqual, Sally Collier, also resigned from her position.

Hundreds of A-degree college students observed their benefits downgraded before this month thanks to an algorithm created to reasonable them.

It led to a massive backlash and a u-switch by governing administration in advance of the publication of GCSE success, reverting the grades again to individuals awarded by lecturers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson faced phone calls to resign, but No 10 reported it had whole self-confidence in him.

New chief

Mr Slater has been the long-lasting secretary at the DfE for four many years and was due to phase down in Spring 2021.

He will now be changed by Susan Acland-Hood, who was brought into the office on a short-term contract last 7 days to lead on its test response.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill thanked Mr Slater for his 35 decades as a general public servant and the govt claimed a permanent replacement would be verified in the coming months.

‘Scapegoat’

The normal secretary of the Food and drug administration union, Dave Penman, criticised the determination to sack Mr Slater.

He reported: “If it wasn’t obvious before, then it definitely is now – this administration will throw civil services leaders under bus devoid of a moment’s hesitation to protect ministers from any variety of accountability.”

He accused the govt of “scapegoating” civil servants and claimed rely on between ministers and civil servants was “at an all-time lower”.

The Labour Get together also condemned the move, declaring civil servants experienced “time and time yet again taken the fall for the incompetence and failures of ministers”.

Shadow education and learning secretary Kate Environmentally friendly said: “Dad and mom will be hunting on in dismay at a govt in finish chaos just a make a difference of times ahead of little ones will return to schools.

“Management involves a perception of accountability and a willingness to be held accountable, traits this prime minister and his ministers totally absence.”

So, what does the departure of Jonathan Slater suggest – and why does it matter?

For his union, the Food and drug administration – and for Labour – it is straightforwardly a sign that, when things go completely wrong, the buck now firmly stops with the officers and not govt ministers.

Indignant Conservative MPs were being remaining privately reassured that “heads would roll” soon after the examinations controversy.

And now, both equally a senior civil servant and the head of Ofqual have now departed, even though Gavin Williamson and his schooling ministers remain in post.

But one thing of a sample is now emerging.

In February, the most senior official at the Home Office environment resigned – and took the govt to court, boasting there had been a “vicious and orchestrated marketing campaign” in opposition to him.

Other senior civil servants have built fewer of a fuss, but have nonetheless left their employment.

The most senior Whitehall mandarin – Sir Mark Sedwill – a short while ago moved, the head of the Overseas Place of work introduced an previously than expected departure, and it was confirmed last month that the lasting secretary at the Ministry of Justice would be leaving much too.

So, not-so-permanent secretaries seems to be a attribute of this administration.

Cabinet Place of work Minister Michael Gove has talked about reforming the civil service. In a speech in June, he mentioned government departments recruited in their own impression and their assumptions had been “inescapably metropolitan”.

So a strategic rethink and an amplified turnover of senior Whitehall staff are likely not entirely unrelated.

But what may fret senior civil servants extra is they might be sacrificed for short-term information administration, relatively than as the end result of any strategic grasp approach.

And there is a chance that this, in flip, might have an effect on the top quality of people who utilize for senior civil services roles in the upcoming.

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Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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