Ofqual chair named as interim replacement for Jo Saxton

Ian Bauckham will serve as chief regulator at qualifications watchdog from January
Sir Ian Bauckham. Photo: Ofqual

By Jim Dunton

02 Nov 2023

Education secretary Gillian Keegan has announced that the chair of qualifications watchdog Ofqual will become interim chief regulator when current boss Jo Saxton leaves post next month.

Keegan said Sir Ian Bauckham would take on the role for 12 months from the beginning of January and step down as chair of the organisation – a role he has held for almost three years.

Last month Keegan warned members of parliament’s Education Select Committee that there would not be enough time to recruit a replacement for Saxton before her looming departure to become chief exec of higher-education admissions service UCAS.

She said the coming year would be a “challenging period” for Ofqual that would “require continuity and stability of leadership”, not least because of prime minister Rishi Sunak’s recently-announced plans for the introduction of a new “Advanced British Standard” to replace A-levels and T-levels.

In addition to serving as Ofqual chair since January 2021, Bauckham has been chief executive of the Tenax Schools Academy Trust since 2015. He will also stand down from that role when he becomes interim chief regulator.

Keegan said Bauckham, who was knighted for services to education in January this year, would provide Ofqual with stability during the recruitment of a permanent chief regulator.

“Sir Ian’s experience will be invaluable as Ofqual continues to ensure our current qualifications work effectively, alongside playing a vital role in the development of our new Advanced British Standard,” she said.

“I’d like to thank Jo for guiding Ofqual through the challenges that followed the pandemic and ultimately overseeing a smooth return to exams and normal grading.”

Ofqual said Bauckham’s appointment had been approved by Sunak and that he would be put forward as the recommended candidate for appointment by His Majesty King Charles at the Privy Council. 

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