Free schools champion made DfE director

The Department for Education (DfE) has appointed 28-year-old Tom Shinner as its director of strategy and performance.

By Joshua.Chambers

21 Feb 2014


Shinner was initially appointed acting director of strategy last year – replacing Hilary Spencer, who was also acting director of strategy and is now on maternity leave. He’d joined the DfE just months earlier, in February 2013, in the post of senior policy adviser to the secretary of state.

He began his career at McKinsey consulting, then spent three years as a history teacher at a South Bucks grammar school. He then co-founded the Greenwich Free School, which opened in September 2012.

The school’s other co-founder, Jonathan Simons, is a former civil servant and head of education policy at the right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange, which was set up by Michael Gove. Shinner remains on the free school’s governing board.

A departmental spokesperson said Shinner’s permanent appointment as director of strategy and performance follows “an openly-advertised external competition.”

He added: “As with all such competitions at this level, the process was overseen, and the recruitment panel chaired, by an independent civil service commissioner.”

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