Department for Education

The Department for Education (DfE) is a department of Her Majesty's Government responsible for child protection, education (compulsory, further and higher education), apprenticeships and wider skills in England.

A Department for Education previously existed between 1992, when the Department of Education and Science was renamed, and 1995 when it was merged with the Department for Employment to become the Department for Education and Employment.

Department for Education
Department for Education
Department overview
Preceding Department
HeadquartersSanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, England, United Kingdom
Annual budget£58.2 billion (2015-16)[1]
Ministers responsible
Department executive
  • Jonathan Slater, Permanent Secretary
Child agencies


The DfE was formed on 12 May 2010 by the incoming Cameron ministry, taking on the responsibilities and resources of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

In June 2012 the Department for Education committed a breach of the UK's Data Protection Act due to a security flaw on its website which made email addresses, passwords and comments of people responding to consultation documents available for download.[2]

In July 2016, the Department took over responsibilities for higher and further education and for apprenticeship from the dissolved Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.[3]

Predecessor bodies


The department is led by the Secretary of State for Education. The Permanent Secretary is Jonathan Slater. DfE is responsible for education, children’s services, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships, and wider skills in England, and equalities. The predecessor department employed the equivalent of 2,695 staff as of April 2008 and as at June 2016, DfE had reduced its workforce to the equivalent of 2,301 staff.[4] In 2015-16, the DfE has a budget of £58.2bn, which includes £53.6bn resource spending and £4.6bn of capital investments.


The Department for Education's ministers are as follows:

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon. Damian Hinds MP Secretary of State[5] Secretary of State for Education[6]
(overall responsibility for the work of the department)
The Rt Hon. Nick Gibb MP Minister of State[5] Minister of State for School Standards[7]
The Rt Hon. Anne Milton MP Minister of State[5] Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills[8]
Chris Skidmore MP Minister of State[5] Minister for Higher Education[9]
(joint minister with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lord Agnew of Oulton Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (unpaid, Life peer)[5] Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System[10]
Nadhim Zahawi MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (unpaid)[5] Children and Families


The management board is made up of:

  • Permanent Secretary - Jonathan Slater
  • Director-General, Social Care, Mobility and Equalities - Indra Morris
  • Director-General, Education Standards - Paul Kett
  • Director-General, Infrastructure and Funding - Andrew McCully
  • Director-General, Higher and Further Education - Philippa Lloyd
  • Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Operations Group - Mike Green
  • Chief Executive, Education & Skills Funding Agency - Eileen Milner

Non-executive board members:[11]


As of 2 August 2016, the DfE has five main sites:[12]

  • Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London
  • Piccadilly Gate, Manchester
  • 2 St Paul's Place, Sheffield
  • Bishops Gate House, Darlington
  • Earlsdon Park, Coventry

The DfE is due to vacate Sanctuary Buildings in September 2017, relocating staff to the Old Admiralty Building[13]

Agencies and public bodies


Education and Skills Funding Agency

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)[14] was formed on 1 April 2017 following the merger of the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency. Previously the Education Funding Agency (EFA) was responsible for distributing funding for state education in England for 3-19 year olds, as well as managing the estates of schools, and colleges and the Skills Funding Agency was responsible for funding skills training for further education in England and running the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Careers Service. The EFA was formed on 1 April 2012 by bringing together the functions of two non-departmental public bodies, the Young People's Learning Agency and Partnerships for Schools.[15] The SFA was formed on 1 April 2010, following the closure of the Learning and Skills Council.[16] Eileen Milner is the agency's Chief Executive.[17]

National College for Teaching and Leadership

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is responsible for administering the training of new and existing teachers in England, as well as the regulation of the teaching profession and offers headteachers, school leaders and senior children's services leaders opportunities for professional development. It was established on 1 April 2013, when the Teaching Agency (which replaced the Training and Development Agency for Schools and parts of the General Teaching Council for England) merged with the National College for School Leadership. The National College for Teaching and Leadership was replaced by the Department for Education and Teaching Regulation Agency in April 2018.

Standards and Testing Agency

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) is responsible for developing and delivering all statutory assessments for school pupils in England.[18] It was formed on 1 October 2011 and took over the functions of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency. The STA is regulated by the examinations regulator, Ofqual.[19]

Public bodies

The DfE is also supported by 10 public bodies:

Non-ministerial departments Ofqual; Ofsted
Executive non-departmental public bodies Equality and Human Rights Commission; Higher Education Funding Council for England; Office for Fair Access; Office of the Children's Commissioner; Student Loans Company
Advisory non-departmental public bodies School Teachers' Review Body
Other Government Equalities Office; Office of the Schools Adjudicator


Education, youth and children's policy is devolved elsewhere in the UK. The department's main devolved counterparts are as follows:


Northern Ireland


National Curriculum 2014

The Department for Education released a new National Curriculum for schools in England for September 2014, which included 'Computing'.[22] Following Michael Gove's speech in 2012,[23] the subject of Information Communication Technology (ICT) has been disapplied and replaced by Computing. With the new curriculum, materials have been written by commercial companies, to support non-specialist teachers, for example, '100 Computing Lessons' by Scholastic. The Computing at Schools organisation[24] has created a 'Network of Teaching Excellence'to support schools with the new curriculum.[25]

Post-16 area reviews

In 2015, the Department announced a major restructuring of the further education sector, through 37 area reviews of post-16 provision.[26] The proposals were criticised by NUS Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin for not sufficiently taking into account the impact on learners;[27][28] the Sixth Form Colleges' Association similarly criticised the reviews for not directly including providers of post-16 education other than colleges, such as school and academy sixth forms and independent training providers.[29]

Funding and grants

In 2018, The Department for Education confirmed their commitment to forming positive relationships with the voluntary and community sector. [30]


  1. ^ "DfE Estimates Memoranda" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  2. ^ Fiveash, Kelly (19 October 2012), ICO: Education ministry BROKE the Data Protection Act, The Register, retrieved 7 December 2012
  3. ^ Matt Foster, New Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy swallows up DECC and BIS — full details and reaction, Civil Service World (14 July 2016).
  4. ^ "DfE monthly workforce management information: 2016 to 2017". GOV.UK.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP (9 January 2018). "Ministerial appointments: January 2018". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Secretary of State for Education". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Minister of State for School Standards". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Minister for Higher Education". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System". GOV.UK. HM Government. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Department for Education". GOV.UK.
  12. ^ accessed 02/08/2016
  13. ^ "Historic government building gets new future". GOV.UK.
  14. ^ "Education and Skills Funding Agency". GOV.UK.
  15. ^ "The creation of the Education Funding Agency". Department for Education.
  16. ^ Skills Funding Agency, Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11, accessed 15 April 2017
  17. ^ Education and Skills Funding Agency, accessed 4 January 2018
  18. ^ "Standards and Testing Agency". Department for Education.
  19. ^ "STA Feedback and complaints". Department for Education.
  20. ^ "Home". The Executive Office.
  21. ^ Welsh Government | Education and skills. Retrieved on 2013-08-13.
  22. ^ "National curriculum in England: computing programmes of study". GOV.UK.
  23. ^ "Michael Gove speech at the BETT Show 2012". GOV.UK.
  24. ^ "Computing At School".
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ [1] Department for Education. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  27. ^ Robertson, Alix (20 April 2016). "Shakira Martin re-elected as NUS vice president for FE". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  28. ^ Offord, Paul (2 November 2016). "Student focus for Sir Vince Cable's FE comeback". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  29. ^ Burke, Jude (8 July 2016). "MPs launch inquiry into post-16 area reviews". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  30. ^ "Children England".

Further reading

External links

Academy (English school)

Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control. The terms of the arrangements are set out in individual Academy Funding Agreements.

Most academies are secondary schools (and most secondary schools are academies). However, slightly more than 25% of primary schools (4,363 as of December 2017), as well as some of the remaining first, middle and secondary schools, are also academies.

Academies are self-governing non-profit charitable trusts and may receive additional support from personal or corporate sponsors, either financially or in kind. They do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but do have to ensure that their curriculum is broad and balanced, and that it includes the core subjects of mathematics and English. They are subject to inspection by Ofsted.

Anangu Schools

Anangu Schools are schools in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) in the north west of South Australia.

They are staffed by the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development, these staff require permits to enter and work on the APY.

There are three related groups, being the Pitjantjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra, and Yankunytjatjara peoples in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

Bitterne Park School

Bitterne Park School is a large mixed secondary comprehensive school in the Bitterne Park suburb of Southampton, Hampshire, in the south of England.

The school last received an Ofsted inspection on 29 and 30 November 2017, in which it was rated 'Good'.According to the Department for Education and Skills performance tables, the school obtained the fifth-highest CVA score in the city, with a score of 1039.1, putting the school in the top 25% of schools in England. This is a new, complex Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 contextual value added (CVA) score designed to show the progress children have made. This is done by comparing their achievements with those of other pupils nationally who had the same or similar prior attainment in their test results at age 10 or 11 in 2001.


The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is the industry training board for the UK construction industry.

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF; stylised as all lowercase) was a department of the UK government, between 2007 and 2010, responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education. DCSF was replaced by the Department for Education after the change of government following the General Election 2010.

Department for Education and Skills (United Kingdom)

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) was a United Kingdom government department between 2001 and 2007, responsible for the education system (including higher education and adult learning) as well as children's services in England.

The department was led by Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

The DfES had offices at four main locations: London (both at the Sanctuary Buildings and Caxton House), Sheffield (Moorfoot), Darlington (Mowden Hall), and Runcorn (Castle View House). The DfES was also represented in regional Government Offices.

The DfES had jurisdiction only in England as education was the responsibility of the Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

On 28 June 2007, the DfES was split up into the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. The DCSF was later reorganised as the Department for Education in 2010.

Education in England

Education in England is overseen by the United Kingdom's Department for Education. Local government authorities are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state-funded schools at a local level.

England also has a tradition of independent schools (some of which call themselves "public schools") and home education; legally, parents may choose to educate their children by any permitted means. State-funded schools are categorized as selective grammar schools or comprehensive schools. Comprehensive schools are further subdivided by funding into free schools, other academies, any remaining Local Authority schools and others. More freedom is given to free schools, including most religious schools, and other academies in terms of curriculum. All are subject to assessment and inspection by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, or Ofsted.

The state-funded education system is divided into stages based upon age: Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 3–5); primary education (ages 5 to 11), subdivided into Key Stage 1 (KS1) Infants (ages 5 to 7) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) Juniors (ages 7 to 11); secondary education (ages 11 to 16), subdivided into Key Stage 3 (KS3; ages 11 to 14) and Key Stage 4 (KS4; ages 14 to 16); Key Stage 5 is post-16 education (ages 16 to 18); and tertiary education (for ages 18+).At age 16 the students typically take exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) or other Level 1/2 qualifications. While education is compulsory until 18, schooling is compulsory to 16, thus post-16 education can take a number of forms, and may be academic or vocational. This can involve continued schooling, known as "sixth form" or "college", leading (typically after two years of further study) to A-level qualifications (similar to a high school diploma in some other countries), or a number of alternative Level 3 qualifications such as Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), the International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge Pre-U, WJEC or Eduqas. It can also include work-based apprenticeships or traineeships, or volunteering.Higher education often begins with a three-year bachelor's degree. Postgraduate degrees include master's degrees, either taught or by research, and doctoral level research degrees that usually take at least three years. Tuition fees for first degrees in public universities are up to £9,250 per academic year for English, Welsh and European Union students.The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) covers national school examinations and vocational education qualifications. It is referenced to the European Qualifications Framework, and thus to other qualifications frameworks across the European Union. The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), which is tied to the RQF, covers degrees and other qualifications from degree-awarding bodies. This is referenced to the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area developed under the Bologna process.

Free school (England)

A free school in England is a type of academy established since 2010 under the Government's free school policy initiative. From May 2015, usage of the term was formally extended to include new academies set up via a local authority competition. Like other academies, free schools are non-profit-making, state-funded schools which are free to attend but which are mostly independent of the local authority. Free school is not a generic term for any school that does not charge fees.

Studio schools and university technical colleges are both sub-types of free school.Like all academies, free schools are governed by non-profit charitable trusts that sign funding agreements with the Education Secretary. There are different model funding agreements for single academy trusts and multi academy trusts. It is possible for a Local Authority to sponsor a free school in partnership with other organisations, provided they have no more than a 19.9% representation on the board of trustees.

Guildford County School

Guildford County School (GCS) is a co-educational day school on Farnham Road (A31), Guildford, England, 200 metres from Guildford town centre. It has around 1050 students enrolled, including the Sixth Form. It is run by its headmaster Steve Smith.The school first opened as an all girls Grammar School in 1905. In September 2004, the school was granted Specialist Music College status, designated by the Department for Education and Skills. Julian Lloyd Webber and Howard Goodall are patrons of the school. The school was then granted academy status in 2013.

Hounsdown School

Hounsdown School is a secondary school in Totton, near Southampton, Hampshire, England. The school has 1,215 pupils, spanning ages 11 to 16. Classes are held in recently renovated 1960s buildings and new specialist blocks built since 2000.

Independent Schools Inspectorate

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is an organisation responsible for the inspection of independent schools in England which are members of organisations affiliated to the Independent Schools Council (ISC). It is one of three independent schools inspectorates empowered to carry out inspections through an agreement with the Department for Education (DfE). As of January 2012, ISI also inspects all boarding school welfare provision for the schools within its remit, making it the largest inspectorate of school boarding provision in the UK. ISI's work is monitored by Ofsted on behalf of the Department for Education.

Most independent schools which are not members of the ISC are inspected by Ofsted but some are inspected by the Schools Inspection Service (SIS) or Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI). ISI is a DfE approved inspectorate for British Schools Overseas and provides education services, including inspection, in all the continents of the world except Antarctica and Australia.

ISI also conducts Educational Oversight inspections of private further education colleges and English language schools in England and Wales on behalf of the Home Office. These inspections provide reports on the quality of education in organisations holding a Tier 4 licence to sponsor international students under the Points Based System. The inspections are for the benefit of the students and seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education.The service is run by a Board of Directors under the Independent Chair of Christine Swabey. Some board members are nominated by associations but not representatives of them, and there are three other independent directors including Mark Stephens.

The head of the service, known as the Chief Inspector, is Kate Richards.


The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests in England and, until May 2016, vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Colloquially and publicly, Ofqual is often referred to as the exam "watchdog".


The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department of the UK government, reporting to Parliament. Ofsted is responsible for inspecting a range of educational institutions, including state schools and some independent schools. It also inspects childcare, adoption and fostering agencies and initial teacher training, and regulates a range of early years and children’s social care services.The Chief Inspector (HMCI) is appointed by an Order-in-Council and thus becomes an office holder under the Crown. Amanda Spielman has been HMCI since 2017; since April 2017 the Chair of Ofsted has been Julius Weinberg, following the resignation of David Hoare.

Preparatory school (United Kingdom)

A preparatory school (or, shortened: prep school) in the United Kingdom is a fee-charging independent primary school that caters primarily for children up to approximately the age of 13. The term "preparatory school" is used as it prepares the children for the Common Entrance Examination to secure a place at a private independent secondary school, including the British public schools. They are also now used by parents in the hope of getting their child into a state selective grammar school. Most prep schools are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), which is overseen by Ofsted on behalf of the Department for Education.

Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency

The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) was a charity, and an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) of the Department for Education. In England and Northern Ireland, the QCDA maintained and developed the National Curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations, advising the minister formerly known as the Secretary of State for Education on these matters.

Regulatory functions regarding examination and assessment boards have been transferred to Ofqual, an independent regulator.

Education and qualifications in Scotland and Wales are the responsibility of the Scottish Government and Welsh Government and their agencies. In Scotland, for example, the Scottish Qualifications Authority is the responsible body.

In May 2010 the Secretary of State announced his intention to promote legislation that would transfer obligations of the QCDA to Ofqual. The newly formed Standards and Testing Agency took on the functions of the agency 3 October 2011. QCDA's Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Hall, is also a member of the Executive Board of the British examination board AQA.

Secretary of State for Education

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Education (frequently shortened to the Education Secretary) is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010. Under the provisions for devolved government in the UK its remit applies only to England, covering;

Early years

Adoption and child protection

Teachers’ pay

The school curriculum

School improvement

The establishment of academies and free schools.

The Barclay School

The Barclay School is a secondary school and sixth form located in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. The current head teacher is Mark Allchorn.

Opening in 1949, it was the first purpose-built secondary school constructed in the UK after the Second World War, and was awarded a Festival of Britain architectural award in 1951. In May 2009, the school celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The school contains a large bronze statue by Henry Moore, Family Group, which was placed at the school's main entrance and is now inside and can be seen in the front of the school. On the 22nd of January, 2018, the BBC visited the school to clear up why the statue had been moved, as there had been an attempted robbery on it in 2009.

The Barclay School Karting team has been around since 1971.The school's Ofsted report in May 2012 categorised Barclay as 'satisfactory' with good capacity to improve. In 2016, the school was rated as 'inadequate' by Ofsted and they put an academy order on it. A multi-academy trust is set to take over the school in January 2019, however, a petition to remove the order was delivered to the Department for Education in December 2018, after a new headteacher and senior leadership team allowed the school to improve to a rating of 'requires improvement' with elements of 'good'.The school is well known for its open riser stairs, being some of the first in the country, and its astro-turf, which was funded by a successful campaign from the National Lottery.

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cymru) is the devolved government of Wales. It was established by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which created a devolved administration for Wales in line with the result of the 1997 referendum on devolution. The Welsh Government formally separated from the Assembly in 2007 following the passage of the Government of Wales Act 2006. The government consists of ministers, who attend cabinet meetings, and deputy ministers who do not, and also of a counsel general. It is led by the first minister, usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, who selects ministers and deputy ministers with the approval of the assembly. The government is responsible for tabling policy in devolved areas (such as health, education, economic development, transport and local government) for consideration by the assembly and implementing policy that has been approved by it.The current Welsh Government is a Labour led administration, following the 2016 National Assembly for Wales election. Mark Drakeford has been the First Minister of Wales since December 2018.

Winton Community Academy

Winton Community Academy (formerly Winton School) is a mixed secondary school located in Andover in the English county of Hampshire. It is not related to similarly named Winton Academy in Bournemouth.



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