News story: Ofsted board: new members announced

Richard Atkins, John Cridland and Venessa Willms have been appointed to serve on the Ofsted Board for 3 years.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

I welcome the appointment of 3 new board members, who will use their wide-ranging experience to further improve education and care for young people.

The Chair of the Ofsted Board, David Hoare, said:

I am delighted to be welcoming Richard Atkins, John Cridland and Venessa Willms as our new non-executive board members. Together they offer a broad range of skills and experience and will ensure the board better reflects each of the different remits of Ofsted.

Biography details of new board members:

  • Richard Atkins recently retired from Exeter College, where he was Principal and Chief Executive of an ‘outstanding’ college. He was previously at Yeovil College and has held various teaching and leadership roles within further education.

  • John Cridland was Director-General of the CBI and is a former UK Commissioner for Employment and Skills. He is currently Chair of Transport for the North, the statutory body responsible for the transport investment case in the Northern powerhouse.

  • Venessa Willms is currently Director of Primary at Ark where she has responsibility for 23 schools across 4 different regions. She is a former Principal at King Solomon Academy in London and has significant experience in primary and early years education.

Ofsted’s board is chaired by David Hoare, who was appointed in July 2014. Linda Farrant, John Hughes, James Kempton and Paul Snell are already members of the board along with HM Chief Inspector. John Roberts will retire as a board member on 31 July 2016.

Notes to editors

1) The appointments were conducted and agreed in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) and were made on merit; political activity played no part in the decision-making process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations and the code of practice, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) and other information, to be made public.

2) The details of the application process and job description were published online and the essential criteria were:

  • a proven ability to work at board level with knowledge of how to add value as a non-executive – or a demonstrable ability to operate effectively at this level
  • strong analytical skills
  • sound understanding and experience of strategic and financial planning
  • a commitment to Ofsted as an inspectorate and regulator and Ofsted’s role in improving standards in education, children’s services and skills
  • experience of driving and delivering change and improvements in a fast-moving environment
  • for one of the available roles, candidates will be required to demonstrate either a significant senior-level finance background or a senior leadership (chief executive level) background

The desirable criteria were:

  • early years education experience, or
  • further education experience

3) The roles are remunerated at £8,282 per annum, based on 20 days’ work.

4) None of the candidates have declared any political activity.

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