Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of the Office for Students (OfS), will leave the organisation at the end of April 2022, the OfS has confirmed today.
In a letter to Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi and Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan, Nicola Dandridge said:
'I am enormously proud of all that we have achieved since we were set up in 2018. We have established ourselves as a new regulator for students in a sector that has never been regulated in this way before. We have developed a robust and innovative approach to regulating quality and equality of opportunity, taken decisive action in a number of cases where quality and governance were inadequate, and overseen demonstrable progress on social mobility. We worked closely and effectively with government during the disruption of the pandemic, and ensured that there were no disorderly university failures. Our new strategy, on which we are about to consult, is proportionate and informed. I leave a strong team who are well positioned to take forward its implementation.'
OfS chair Lord Wharton said:
'From setting up a brand new regulator, to dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, Nicola’s experience, diligence and determination has been key to the success of the OfS. Nicola has retained an absolute focus on the OfS’s role to protect the interests of students, particularly in work to raise the quality bar in higher education, and to improve equality of opportunity for students of all backgrounds. I am grateful for all of her support since I took up the post of OfS chair earlier this year, and on behalf of everyone at the OfS thank her for her enormous contribution. As Nicola leaves, our executive team and the OfS will work to deliver our new strategy.'
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:
'I would like to thank Nicola for her excellent work over the last five years – she will leave behind her a real legacy that includes improving access to higher education for those from the most disadvantaged parts of the country. We now have record numbers of disadvantaged students at university and that is due to her support in our aims to improve social mobility.
'We will be announcing the next steps in the recruitment process to find Nicola’s successor in due course.'