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Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater will leave his post over ‘mutant algorithm’ exam fiasco

Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater

Susan Acland-Hood made Acting Permanent Secretary @EducationGovUK 

Jonathan Slater (@PermSecDfE) will conclude his service at the Department for Education on 1 September.

The Prime Minister has concluded that there is a need for fresh official leadership at the Department for Education. Jonathan Slater has therefore agreed that he will stand down on 1 September, in advance of the end of his tenure in Spring 2021.

Susan Acland-Hood, currently interim second permanent secretary, will take over as Acting Permanent Secretary. A permanent successor to replace Jonathan Slater will be appointed in the coming weeks.

The Cabinet Secretary would like to put on record his thanks to Jonathan for 35 years of public service, culminating in over four years as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education.

Responding to the sacking of the Department for Education’s Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater over this year’s exams fiasco:

Kate Green MP 100x100Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Under this Government civil servants have time and time again taken the fall for the incompetence and failures of Ministers.

“Parents will be looking on in dismay at a government in complete chaos just a matter of days before children will return to schools.

“Leadership requires a sense of responsibility and a willingness to be held accountable, qualities this Prime Minister and his ministers utterly lack.”

Boris Johnson and the ‘mutant algorithm’

Commenting on @BorisJohnson’s statement to students this lunchtime, in which he referred to grades being derailed by a “mutant algorithm” during this summer’s exams fiasco, 

KevinCourtney100x100Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“It is brazen of the Prime Minister to idly shrug away a disaster that his own Government created. Parents, students, teachers and heads will be horrified to see the leader of this country treat his own exams fiasco like some minor passing fad. The public will not easily forget the emotional rollercoaster of this year’s results season. It is certain to put a long-lasting dent in the Government’s reputation on education. 

Sally Collier fell on her sword yesterday, but the disaster of this year’s exams model has its origins in a decade of Conservative education policy.

“Kenneth Baker and Justine Greening both agree the current system is not fit for purpose, and the NEU goes further. It needs ripping up, and for students entering exams next summer we need quick and decisive action.  

“That is why we wrote to Gavin Williamson last week. We are calling for a reduction in content assessed in exams next summer, collaboration with the profession to develop a robust national system of moderated centre-assessed grades in case of further outbreaks of Covid-19, and a thorough independent review into assessment methods along the lines announced for Scotland.

“At the same time we launched a matching petition, which now exceeds 50,000 signatures.

Kate Green MP 100x100Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to Boris Johnson telling students their grades were nearly downgraded because of a ‘mutant algorithm’, said: 

“Boris Johnson is shamelessly trying to avoid taking responsibility for the exams fiasco that his government created. 

“Responsibility for this shambles lies squarely with Downing Street and the Department for Education, who set out how they wanted the algorithm to work and were warned weeks in advance of issues, but repeatedly refused to address the problems they had created.  

“It is this Tory government’s incompetence that is to blame for the exams fiasco.” 

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