Executive Recruitment

Our Team

Sir Michael Barber, Chair

Sir Michael Barber is a leading authority on education systems and education reform. He was recently appointed as Chair of the Office for Students (OfS) – the new regulator for Higher Education. He was Chief Education Advisor at Pearson from September 2011 to March 2017, when he took up his new role at the OfS. He is also Founder and Chairman of Delivery Associates, a consulting company that works with governments to help them deliver improved outcomes for citizens.

He joined Pearson as Chief Education Advisor in 2011 and launched PALF in 2012.

In addition, from 2011 to 2015 Sir Michael was DfID’s Special Representative on Education in Pakistan, which he has visited more than 50 times. With the Chief Minister of Punjab, he has led a radical education reform which among other things has enrolled almost 2 million children while also improving quality.

Prior to Pearson, he was a Partner at McKinsey & Company and Head of McKinsey’s global education practice. He co-authored two major McKinsey education reports: How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top (2007) and How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better (2010).

He previously served the UK government as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (from 2001-2005) and as Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards (from 1997-2001). Before joining government, he was a professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London and long ago a secondary school teacher.

In 2013 Sir Michael published The Good News from Pakistan, with Reform, about the major school reform in Punjab, Pakistan. He is also the author, with Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi of Oceans of Innovation (2012) and An Avalanche is Coming (2013), which explore the future of education in schools and universities respectively. 

He is the author of several books including most recently How to Run a Government: So that Citizens Benefit and Taxpayers Don’t go Crazy (2016).  

He is a visiting scholar at Harvard and an Honorary Doctor of Exeter University.

He was knighted in 2005 for his contribution to improving government.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive Officer

Nicola Dandridge was appointed as the first chief executive of the Office for Students in 2017, taking up her role in September 2017. The Office for Students is the new public body which will regulate the higher education sector on behalf of students. It will be fully operational in April 2018, when it will replace the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Office for Fair Access.

Prior to joining the Office for Students, Nicola was chief executive of Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Before that she was chief executive of the Equality Challenge Unit, the higher education agency which promotes equality and diversity for staff and students. Nicola started her career as a qualified lawyer working in private practice.

Board Members 

(Biographies to follow)

Martin Coleman, Deputy Chair

David Palfreyman OBE 

Professor Steven West CBE

Professor Carl Lygo

Gurpreet Dehal

Katherine Lander

Chris Milward, Director for Fair Access and Participation

Chris Millward is joining the OfS following over ten years at HEFCE as their Head of Policy. While at HEFCE, Chris led on refoms to ensure more people from disadvantaged backgrounds were given the chance to study at England’s world-leading universities, as well as the implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework which recognises excellent teaching and learning across the higher education sector.

As the Director for Fair Access and Participation, Chris will play a crucial role in ensuring higher education institutions are doing all they can to support underrepresented groups, from widening access, to monitoring retention, attainment and progression from higher education. Chris Millward will serve a four-year term in the first instance, which is subject to renewal up to a maximum of ten years.

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