Under fire exams chief trained in city college and supports Norwich City

Sally Collier. Picture: Tom Reynolds/Flickr

Sally Collier. Picture: Tom Reynolds/Flickr - Credit: Tom Reynolds/Flickr

Her team has presided over the exam grading saga and today it emerged the head of under fire regulator Ofqual is from Norwich.

Sally Collier studied a diploma in management studies at City College Norwich, from 1999 and 2001, in which she gained a distinction.

In an online article on Civil Service World from December 2018, Ms Collier said she admired First World War heroine and nurse Edith Cavell.

The self-proclaimed Norwich City Football Club fan even had the walls in her Ofqual office in Coventry painted green, according to a Times profile.

Before attending City College Norwich, Ms Collier achieved three A-levels at ABB followed by a BA (Hons) degree in French and German at Salford University in 1990.


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Since 2001 until 2016, when she was made chief regulator and chief executive of Ofqual, the civil servant has moved up the ranks for the treasury and government cabinet office while working on procurement.

According to the Times profile, Ms Collier was an unlikely choice for the role, in which she earns over £200,000 a year.

MORE: Headteacher blasts ‘ridiculous’ suggestion schools would inflate GCSE gradesDespite the recent scandal over exam grades, which has led to calls for education secretary Gavin Williamson to resign, Ms Collier has the backing of Tina Isaacs, of University College London’s Institute of Education.

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Dr Isaacs, who sits on Ofqual’s standards advisory group, said: “She’s incredibly bright and incredibly hard-working and I don’t think you necessarily have to be an educationalist to do that post well as long as you are dedicated . . . and she certainly is.”

The Ofqual chief has previously spoken of valuing every student.

In 2017 she intervened to lower the marks required for top grades in GCSE and A-level exams after reforms aimed at increasing standards were introduced by former education secretary Michael Gove.

She said at the time: “I want the message to be that students have done fantastically well. All our kids are brilliant.”

Ms Collier has so far declined to comment on the issues with exam grading.

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