Department for Education

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Department for Education

20 Great Smith Street, Westminster
Department overview
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersSanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, England, United Kingdom
Annual budget£58.2 billion (2015–16)[1]
Secretary of state responsible
Department executive
Child agencies

The Department for Education (DfE) is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for child protection, child services, education (compulsory, further, and higher education), apprenticeships, and wider skills in England.[4]

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.

The Secretary of State for Education is Rt. Hon. Gillian Keegan MP. and Susan Acland-Hood is the Permanent Secretary.

The expenditure, administration, and policy of the Department of Education are scrutinised by the Education Select Committee.


The DfE was formed on 12 May 2010 by the incoming Coalition Government, 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.[5]

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.[6]

Predecessor bodies[edit]


The department is led by the Secretary of State for Education. The Permanent Secretary from December 2020 is Susan Acland-Hood.[3] 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.[7] 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, with cabinet members in bold:[8]

Minister Portrait Office Portfolio
The Rt Hon. Gillian Keegan MP Secretary of State for Education Overall responsibility for the department; early years; children's social care; teacher recruitment and retention; the school curriculum; school improvement; academies and free schools; further education; apprenticeships and skills; higher education.
The Rt Hon. Damian Hinds MP Minister of State for Schools School accountability and inspection (including links with Ofsted); Standards and Testing Agency and primary assessment; supporting a high-quality teaching profession including professional development; supporting recruitment and retention of teachers and school leaders including initial teacher training; Teaching Regulation Agency; National Tutoring Programme; Education Investment Areas (jointly with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School and College System)); school revenue funding, including the national funding formula for schools; school efficiency and commercial policy; pupil premium; behaviour, attendance and exclusions; school sport; digital strategy and technology in education (EdTech).
Luke Hall MP Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Strategy for post-16 education; T Levels; qualifications reviews (levels 3 and below); higher technical education (levels 4 and 5); apprenticeships and traineeships; funding for education and training for 16 to 19 year olds; further education workforce and funding; Institutes of Technology; local skills improvement plans and Local Skills Improvement Fund; adult education, including basic skills, the National Skills Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; higher education quality; student experience and widening participation in higher education; student finance and the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (including the Student Loans Company); international education strategy and the Turing Scheme.
David Johnston OBE MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Families and Wellbeing Strategy for schools, including standards and selection; qualifications (including links with Ofqual); curriculum including relationships, sex, and health education and personal, social, health and economic education; admissions and school transport; early years and childcare; children's social care; children in care, children in need, child protection, adoption and care leavers; disadvantaged and vulnerable children; families, including family hubs and early childhood support; special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including high needs funding; alternative provision; school food, including free school meals; children and young people's mental health, online safety and preventing bullying in schools; policy to protect against serious violence.
The Rt Hon. Baroness Barran MBE Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System and Student Finance Academies and multi-academy trusts; free schools and university technical colleges; faith schools; independent schools; home education and supplementary schools; intervention in underperforming schools and school improvement; school governance; school capital investment (including pupil place planning); Education Investment Areas (jointly with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School Standards)); education provision and outcomes for 16 to 19 year olds; college governance and accountability; intervention and financial oversight of further education colleges; careers education, information and guidance including the Careers and Enterprise Company; reducing the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training; safeguarding in schools and post-16 settings; counter extremism in schools and post-16 settings; departmental efficiency and commercial policy.


The management board is made up of:

  • Permanent SecretarySusan Acland-Hood
  • Director-General, Social Care, Mobility and Disadvantage – Indra Morris
  • Director-General, Higher and Further Education Group – Paul Kett
  • Director-General, Early Years and Schools – Andrew McCully
  • Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Operations Group – Mike Green
  • Chief Executive, Education & Skills Funding Agency – David Withey

Non-executive board members:[4]


As at 2 August 2016, the DfE has five main sites:[9]

  • The entrance to the Great Smith Street site
    Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London
  • Piccadilly Gate, Manchester
  • 2 St Paul's Place, Sheffield
  • Bishopsgate House, Darlington
  • Cheylesmore House, Coventry

Agencies and public bodies[edit]


Education and Skills Funding Agency[edit]

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)[10] 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- to 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.[11] The SFA was formed on 1 April 2010, following the closure of the Learning and Skills Council.[12] David Withey is the agency's Chief Executive.[13]

Teaching Regulation Agency[edit]

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is responsible for regulation of the teaching profession, including misconduct hearings.[14] Its predecessors include the National College for Teaching and Leadership (to 2018), the Teaching Agency (to 2013) and the Training and Development Agency for Schools (from 1994).

Standards and Testing Agency[edit]

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) is responsible for developing and delivering all statutory assessments for school pupils in England.[15] 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.[16]

Public bodies[edit]

The DfE is also supported by 10 public bodies:

Non-ministerial departments Ofqual; Ofsted
Executive non-departmental public bodies Equality and Human Rights Commission; Office for Students; Office of the Children's Commissioner; Student Loans Company
Advisory non-departmental public bodies School Teachers' Review Body
Other 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[edit]

The Department for Education released a new National Curriculum for schools in England for September 2014, which included 'Computing'.[19] Following Michael Gove's speech in 2012,[20] 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[21] has created a 'Network of Teaching Excellence'to support schools with the new curriculum.[22]

Post-16 area reviews[edit]

In 2015, the department announced a major restructuring of the further education sector, through 37 area reviews of post-16 provision.[23] The proposals were criticised by NUS Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin for not sufficiently taking into account the impact on learners;[24][25] 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.[26]

Funding and grants[edit]

In 2018, The Department for Education confirmed their commitment to forming positive relationships with the voluntary and community sector.[27]

In 2020 the department began funding the National Tutoring Programme which employed private companies to deliver the tuition including at least one which uses children as tutors, paying them £1.57 per hour.[28] Tutors received up to £25 of the between £72 and £84 per hour the government paid the companies.[29]


  1. ^ "DfE Estimates Memoranda" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Susan Acland-Hood". GOV.UK.
  3. ^ a b "Top DfE job goes to acting boss Susan Acland-Hood".
  4. ^ a b "Department for Education". GOV.UK.
  5. ^ Fiveash, Kelly (19 October 2012), ICO: Education ministry BROKE the Data Protection Act, The Register, retrieved 7 December 2012
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ "DfE monthly workforce management information: 2016 to 2017". GOV.UK.
  8. ^ This article contains OGL licensed text This article incorporates text published under the British Open Government Licence: "Our ministers". GOV.UK. Department for Education. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  9. ^ "Occupation (Excel Download) -".
  10. ^ "Education and Skills Funding Agency". GOV.UK.
  11. ^ "The creation of the Education Funding Agency". Department for Education.
  12. ^ Skills Funding Agency, Annual Report and Accounts 2010–11, accessed 15 April 2017
  13. ^ Education and Skills Funding Agency, accessed 4 January 2018
  14. ^ "Teaching Regulation Agency". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Standards and Testing Agency". Department for Education.
  16. ^ "STA Feedback and complaints". Department for Education.
  17. ^ "Home". The Executive Office.
  18. ^ Welsh Government | Education and skills Archived 6 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 13 August 2013.
  19. ^ "National curriculum in England: computing programmes of study". GOV.UK.
  20. ^ "Michael Gove speech at the BETT Show 2012". GOV.UK.
  21. ^ "Computing at School".
  22. ^ "Computing at School :: Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  23. ^ [1] Department for Education. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  24. ^ Robertson, Alix (20 April 2016). "Shakira Martin re-elected as NUS vice president for FE". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  25. ^ Offord, Paul (2 November 2016). "Student focus for Sir Vince Cable's FE comeback". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  26. ^ Burke, Jude (8 July 2016). "MPs launch inquiry into post-16 area reviews". FE Week. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Grants and contracts from the Department for Education". Children England.
  28. ^ "UK tutoring scheme uses under-18s in Sri Lanka paid as little as £1.57 an hour". The Guardian. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  29. ^ "England's 'catch-up' tutors are being short-changed by private employers". The Guardian. 28 February 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]