Sir Michael Barber Announced as Preferred Candidate for Chair of Office for Students


You can read the full Department for Education press release here.

The Department for Education has announced that Sir Michael Barber is the preferred candidate to become chair of the new Office for Students (OfS).

The Office for Students is a new public body being established in law by the Higher Education and Research Bill, which completed its Comittee Stage in the House of Lords at the end of January. The OfS will combine the existing regulatory functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), and will be responsible for creating and overseeing a regulatory environment which ‘puts the interests of students at the heart of the system’, with a particular focus on choice and competition.

Sir Michael Barber is a leading thinker and practitioner on public service delivery and has been at the forefront of global thinking in education for the past 20 years including in higher education, for example as a member of the Browne Review of higher education funding and as Chief Education Advisor to Pearson.

The appointment will be subject to a pre-scrutiny hearing by the Education Select Committee. If appointed, Sir Michael will serve a term of 4 years.

Alexander Proudfoot, Chief Executive of Independent Higher Education, said:

“Sir Michael Barber is a highly regarded educationalist with an international reputation, and just who we need to lead our higher education system into the 21st century. Sir Michael’s commitment to helping students through the creation of this new body is a vote of confidence in the government’s essential reform programme, and reassures me that our world-leading higher education sector is in very good hands.”

  • Posted by Independent HE
  • On 7th February 2017

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