Jonathan Slater brings his huge breadth and depth of experience in leading the Department for Education (DfE) to The PSC’s education clients.
Jonathan was Permanent Secretary at DfE for over four years from 2016-2020, steering the department through enormous change both before and during the early phases of the COVID pandemic.
Jonathan particularly relished the Department’s collaborative work with the sector in developing the Early Careers Framework which provides training and support for new teachers, and in establishing Opportunity Areas to help local partners improve the education offer to some of the most disadvantaged pupils in the country. He also guided through the implementation of 30 hours free childcare, and increased investment in technical education post 16.
Jonathan was also responsible for steering DfE through the huge challenges posed to the education sector during the first months of COVID – from closing schools to all but the most vulnerable pupils with only a few days notice, to helping to provide laptops and online materials to support remote learning from scratch - in a highly contested political environment.
As Permanent Secretary, Jonathan was personally responsible for the leadership of the Department’s 6000 people. He led a major programme of work to increase engagement with the Department’s users (learners, families, teachers etc.), tackle discrimination and inequality, and empower staff to achieve their best. DfE’s staff survey engagement scores rose to the top of Government departments, and the proportion of black and asian senior civil servants reached double figures.
Jonathan combined his role at the DfE with that of Head of the civil service’s Policy Profession.
Before joining the Civil Service in 2001, he was a local authority deputy chief executive and director of education.